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Christmas offers opportunities for faithful

Pastor's corner

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POSTED: December 20, 2007 5:02 a.m.
I am excited about the parables of Jesus. I have noticed there are multiple lessons in most of the parables Jesus used. The parable of the sheep and the goats as recorded in Matthew Ch. 25 is no exception.
Jesus says there will be a day when all the nations will stand before Him and He will divide them into two groups. This parable clearly teaches there will be a judgment of the nations, and the people will be divided into two groups.
The group that pleased the Lord will be invited into the Lord’s kingdom and the group that displeased the Lord will be cast out to everlasting punishment.
Now of course that is an oversimplification of a profound spiritual truth.
In addition to the judgment declaration, I believe this parable gives us a glimpse into the psyche of those who truly care about serving mankind.
Jesus uses two similar animals to note all people are alike in many ways. The sheep and the goats are both four-legged animals, grow about the same size like many things and from a distance they can be confused.
But when one is close enough to hear the sound, feel the wool or watch the behavior, they become very distinguishable. So it is with people. From a distance one can become confused because people look alike and often sound alike until we get close enough to see the real person.
Jesus was not fooled by these imposters. So He set the sheep people on His right and the goat people on His left. Then He says to the sheep “come blessed of my father ... I was hungry and you fed me.” The sheep asked, “When did we feed you Lord?” This reminds us people with a heart to serve mankind often do it without thinking they have done some great thing. They ring no bells, ask for no special attention, they just naturally serve.
Jesus then turns His attention to the goat people and says, “I was hungry and you did not feed me.” The goats, like the sheep, asked, “When Lord did we see you hungry?” This reminds us that good people often imply do not see the need.
When I see affordable housing dwindling, gas and electric costs going up, and many people having to chose between eating or taking medicine I wonder do we really care about the least, the last and the lost.
When I see our elected officials on all levels make decisions that appear to be in the interest of the prosperous, the pompous and the pushy, I have to wonder where are those who should be speaking for those who have no voice.
Where is the voice of the church when we spend millions per day on war while cutting healthcare for our children? Where are the preachers who will stand like the Prophet Micah and say we ought to “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God?”
Where are the Christians who will stand like the Apostle James and say, “pure religion is this, visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction?” Where are the church members that will hear Jesus say, “If you love me, feed my sheep?”
This Christmas season offers us an excellent opportunity to look around and see if we have been responsive to the real mission of the church. If Jesus came today, would He call you a sheep or a goat?
The Liberty County United Ministerial Alliance and the Liberty County Manna House are two charities dedicated to doing Matthew 25 ministry in Liberty County. You can get more information by calling 368-9154 or 368-3660.

Scott is pastor of Baconton Missionary Baptist Church and Vice President of the United Ministerial Alliance.
 

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