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 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 that 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 over-simplification 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 that all people are alike in many ways. The sheep and the goat are both four-legged animals that grow to be about the same size. Like many similar things and creatures, from a distance, they can be confused. However, when one is close enough to hear their sounds, feel the wool or watch their 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 imposters. So He set the “sheep people” on His right and the “goat people” on His left. Then He said to the sheep, “Come blessed of my father … I was hungry and you fed me.” The sheep asked, “When did we feed you, Lord?” People with hearts set on serving mankind often do so without thinking they have done something great. They ring no bells and ask for no special attention. They just naturally serve.
Jesus turned His attention to the “goat people” and said, “I was hungry and you did not feed me.” The goats asked, “When, Lord, did we see You hungry?” The second point is that some people often simply do not see the need that is right in front of them. Jesus reminds us that when we neglect those in need, we neglect Him.
Have you seen the need in Liberty County? When you stand before the Lord, which side will you be directed to?
I commend the churches, supportive service agencies, city and county workers and other co-laborers who work every day to eradicate homelessness and poverty in our community. Yet there remains much work to be done. I want to use this article today to ask our community to consider supporting the Liberty County Manna House. The food pantry has been an essential charitable organization in this community for 20 years. Last year alone, the Manna House gave out more than 450 Thanksgiving baskets containing turkeys, which helped to feed more than 2,000 individuals. My prayer is that the churches in our area collectively would support this ministry with monthly donations. The Manna House needs your financial support to continue its worthy ministry.
Please send your contribution to the Manna House of Liberty County, P.O. Box 1646, Hinesville, Ga., 31310. You also may stop by the Manna House at 244 W. Memorial Drive in Hinesville. For information, please feel free to call Manna House Director Pastor Katrina Deason at 368-3660 or me at 368-9154.
Scott is the pastor of the Baconton Missionary Baptist Church and vice president of the United Ministerial Alliance.