Are You a “Sheep”? Or a “Goat”?

by | Feb 15, 2024 | Caring, Complacency, God's Hands, Helping, Love

It’s 6:30 am and the alarm rings. You wake up slowly, knowing you don’t really have to be out of bed until 7. You love this time of the morning. Everything is quiet, and your thoughts can simply float where they will. And today your thoughts take you to happy places. After all, you have a good job, two great kids, a loving spouse… Your mind drifts a bit farther to what transpired the day before. Again, all so good! the car was under warranty and you didn’t have to pay to have it fixed, the new appliances arrived, gifts from your late uncle’s estate, you have a very low fixed interest rate on your mortgage, you received new computer equipment and phone from your company, everyone is in good health… And you spend some time thanking God and praising Him for His goodness and for what He is doing in your life. As you peek at the clock you see you have another 10 minutes before you actually have to get up, and you roll over, allowing your mind to contemplate how good you have it, how good life is.

At 7 am, your second alarm rings and you get out of bed and hop in the shower. As you get dressed, you ask Alexa to give you the latest news: Devastating earthquake in Afghanistan! Over a thousand people dead and thousands more injured! Or maybe the breaking news is about an explosion in Lebanon where thousands are killed. Or perhaps it is a report of rampaging famine in Africa, with thousands of people dying of hunger, or maybe it is about the abduction of children in Nigeria or the abduction of missionaries in Haiti…

Whatever the subject of the breaking news, you now find yourself with two choices:

1. You can give it passing interest and mumble a prayer for the people while you head downstairs for your morning coffee, then spend some time praising God over your bowl of milk and cereal that the disaster didn’t happen to you;


2. You can spend time dwelling on the horrors of these tragedies, on the suffering and pain of people who have been severely injured and/or have lost beloved family members, who have lost their homes or their children or their livelihoods, then you can commit to helping them wherever and however you can.

The choice is simple, right? Why not choose #1? After all, you can’t change the fact that there was an earthquake or an explosion or famine or abductions, etc. Worrying about it won’t change what has happened! Besides, Jesus tells us in Matt. 6:25-34 not to worry, right? And aren’t we told in 1 Thess. 5:18 to be grateful for our circumstances? Besides, it is so emotionally painful to choose #2. Why should we let ourselves get so upset for something we can’t change?

Unfortunately for the world, this is what many of us do. We find ourselves becoming jaded by the influx of disasters on the news. It is simply easier to focus on our own problems. I mean, the lawnmower did break down and there truly is no way to cut the grass! Shouldn’t we be worrying about getting it to a repair shop?

The problem is, although choice #1 is a sure way to protect our own emotional status, it leads to a coldness of heart, an apathy, a complacency. It works to undermine the genuine, unselfish, self-sacrificing love that God wants to work in our hearts. Although it is true that we are told not to worry (See Matt. 6:25-34), that we are told to be grateful (see 1 Thess. 5:18), we must never forget the two greatest commands: “’Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself,” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’” (Matt. 22:36-49 NIV).

But we truly cannot change what has transpired. How can we show neighborly love to these people?

There are many ways, and I suggest doing all of them:

1. Commit to fervent intercessory prayer on behalf of the situation and the people affected until the tragedy is passed!

2. Commit to monetarily helping these situations. Find a Christian aid organizations specializing in bringing specific aid in these kinds of situations and commit to supporting them financially. Yes, it may mean you have to sacrifice your morning Star Bucks for a while! But what is having to make your own coffee as compared to people starving? Freezing? Grieving?

3. Stop taking what you have for granted, and stop stressing out about little losses. Compared to what others in the world are going through, your broken lawnmower is pretty minor! Submit your problems to God so that you can focus your own thoughts and prayers on people who have much bigger ones!

To close this devotional, I feel compelled to remind us all of the parable of the sheep and the goats. This is a very long passage of scripture, but I believe that its message warrants our sincere meditation:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory…He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

(Matthew 25:31-46 NIV)

I would like to suggest that the “goats” in Jesus’ parable are those who make choice #1, while the “sheep” are those who make choice #2…

At the time this was written, the Afghan people are in dire need due to a devastating earthquake, famine is resulting in countless deaths in Africa, and then there is the war in the Ukraine. By the time you read this, there will be other, equally devastating things that have happened to people across the globe. Are you a “sheep”? Or a “goat”? What choice will you make today?

In His love,
Rob Chaffart
Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries


Are You a “Sheep”? Or a “Goat”?