How many of us “claim” to be Christians? We say we believe in Jesus… but how many of us are truly His sheep? There are believers and there are those who “claim” to be believers – whose words and actions don’t go hand in hand. Mind you, just because someone is in full time ministry let alone with a title of a pastor or what not, doesn’t make them any less prone to this ‘falsehood’. Sadly there are many pastors who are trying to build their own kingdom, their own empire as opposed to God’s Kingdom. They kick out the people who don’t agree with their word but ironically, in the meantime they distort God’s Word. They don’t walk the talk. Of course, none of us are perfect and we all stumble but it is the “increasing measure” of His fruit is what what we are talking about.
“A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats” – Charles Spurgeon.
This is for sure food for thought for each one of us. First of all, are you a sheep or a goat?! Tough question, eh?! How would you know which one you are? Jesus clarifies this in Matthew 25:31-43 (I didn’t insert the entire passage):
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, … and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 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. … “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, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers 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. …
, ‘I tell you the truth, 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.”
Many people love to do charity – and for the poor so that the whole world can see. Here Jesus says whatever we do for the least of these brothers of His (those who follow Him) is actually doing it for Him. In John 10, Jesus says the sheep know its shepherds voice and they follow Him. They won’t follow the voice of a stranger. He is the Good Shepherd… if we are His Sheep we will know His voice and simply not stop at that but rather heed to His voice… We won’t be goats butting our horns everywhere but rather we will follow our Good Shepherd – Jesus Christ.
When Jesus reappeared to the disciples, He asked Peter whether Peter would take care of / feed His sheep – i.e. He makes it clear that the sheep belong to Him as in Jesus and not Peter and that Peter is to be the steward. Likewise, pastors are to feed the sheep of Jesus.
Well fed sheep will respond to God’s Word in tangible ways… Relationships will flow out of it. They will love their neighbours as themselves, will reach out and share – not push them away. It won’t be about “what’s in this for me, how can I benefit from it” but rather how can I give unto God. Under the headship of Christ, human shepherds will feed the sheep. Jesus discipled the twelve for 3 years and sent them out to the world to expand the Kingdom of God. Just like adults raise their children till they reach the adult stage and let them spread their wings, shepherds feed Jesus’ sheep for a time and a season and send them out into the world to respond to God’s specific calling over their individual lives.
Sadly though, the time has come when clowns are entertaining the goats and these goats along with the entertaining clowns will be thrown into hell. The clowns love to tickle the goats ears and the goats in return will laugh at what is being said, enjoy their Sunday routine and perhaps a cell group too during the week and carry on with their butting lives, not concerned about anyone else beside themselves.
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths – 2 Timothy 4:3-4
The time has come when goats will think the anointing is where there are numbers and thus flock to people what their itching ears want to hear instead of the truth. There are enough and more clowns to do so. Peter issues an incredible list of warnings in the 3rd chapter of his 2nd letter to false prophets and false teachers. The prophet Ezekiel also cautions shepherds who take advantage of the sheep for their own good – comfort, name, fame etc.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching,rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
God’s Word is to be revered, held in awe – not something to be taken lightly let alone used to entertain. His Word is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting for the purpose that the man of God may be EQUIPPED for His work. Clowns entertain and raise goats, shepherds feed to make disciples who will in return go forth and fulfill the great commission.
- Where do you stand – as a goat or a sheep? How do you respond to the needs of the least of your brothers?
- Are you gravitated towards the clowns or the shepherds / Are you gravitated to being a clown or being a shepherd?
- Do you have itching ears or do you have a heart that yearns to be a man / woman after God’s heart walking along the narrow path?
I leave with you the words of Jesus to meditate on…
‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’