Are You a Sheep or a Goat?
When I was in real estate, I went to a dentist’s house one night to put it on the market. He was a devout Christian. I learned in the conversation that he attended the Rose Heights Church of God that was founded about the time as the Sabbath-keeping church I attended. In less than ten years the church the dentist attended had nearly 5000 people attend their worship service and we had maybe 200. I was taken back by the success of this church and asked the dentist why he thought the Rose Heights Church of God had grown so fast. He immediately said it was because the people were a caring people and took care of those who came through their doors.
I’ve given that a lot of thought over the years and have wondered if this Sunday-keeping church had the keys we are missing. If so, what would those keys entail and how could we get them? Was the key having a lady assigned to purchase a box of assorted greeting cards —sympathy, get well, birthday, congratulations, etc., and pass the appropriate card around for all the brethren to sign? When she put the stamp on the envelope and put the card in the mail, had they fulfilled their Christian duty? Had people flocked to their church because they got a card signed by people in their church? Or is there more to being a proactive Christian? Does it require a hands-on touch, where you literally show up, show genuine love, and do something useful? What did Jesus have to say about this?
"When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left."
"Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation.’ And here’s why: "I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was homeless and you gave me a room. I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit. I was in prison and you came to me.
"Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you? Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’
"Then he will turn to the‘goats’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell.’ And why? Because—"I was hungry and you gave me no meal. I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was homeless and you gave me no bed, I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, Sick and in prison, and you never visited. "Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help? ’"He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: When ever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’
"Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward" (Matthew 25:31-46, The Message).
Brethren, this is hands-on, proactive Christianity—you get your hands dirty. You give of your time and your money. You make a sacrificial investment in your brothers and sisters—in people. But how?
All you have to do is go to a hospital or nursing home and you’ll see plenty of people you can help in the name of your Savior, Jesus Christ. These peoples’ needs will vary. Some of them may need you to sit with a sick loved one while the care-giver goes home, takes a shower and gets some rest. If the sick or elderly person is home, taking a pot of soup, casserole dish, or even a loaf of bread made in your bread maker (how much trouble is that?), can be an enormous help. A woman care-giver will find a man’s help in doing the "honey-do" projects around the house invaluable. Calling the care-giver before grocery shopping to pick up a few needed items can be an enormous help as well. Put yourself in the shoes of the sick person and/or the care-giver. Think about what you would need and what you would hope someone with a servant’s heart would do to help you. You should be able to think of a long list of things you can do.
This is down-to-earth Christianity that built the Rose Heights Church of God, contrasted with the passive Christian too self-centered or important to get involved in making someone’s life just a little better. Keep in mind the Bible says "as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me" (Matthew 25:45 RSV).Is it worth the effort? Those who don’t do these things "will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (v.46). You have the opportunity to make your church a "caring church" and to gain an eternal reward. What will you do about it? Just send a card, or get busy caring for the needs of God’s people? Make no mistake, it's a delight to receive a card from a friend and it may be the best you can do. But look around you and ask, "Who needs help and can I do more?" There is no shortage of people who need help. Will you get to know people, get involved in helping, and insure your reward in the Kingdom? Or will you be one of the goats herded to eternal doom, while the "sheep" get their eternal reward?
You can contact Allie Dart at Christian Educational Ministries - P.O. Box 560 Whitehouse, Texas 75791
Web page: cemnetwork.net