November 23, 2014 - Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
So allow me to be honest: Mr. Goat, I can totally relate.
You are stubborn. As stubborn as they come. Sometimes, you are unmovable, to the point of ridiculousness. So am I.
You are a lousy follower, let's face it. Your idea of following is chewing your way through a fence to follow your crazy goat dreams (whatever those are). I have always found it hard to follow, too.
You make a mess of everything. Put you in the vicinity of a garbage can, and the surrounding 300 yards don't stand a chance. You're a disaster, a slob, and sometimes you leave a path of complete and total chaos in your wake. I've been known to leave a mess too, brother goat.
You want your way. And when you don't get it, you don't think; you react. You're a fighter, a head-butter, and you don't back down until and unless you get your way. Sadly, I can relate.
It's no mistake that the example of the sheep is so prevalent in scriptures. Domestic sheep are sweet, cuddly, trusting, and above all, followers. Show them a shiny object and they will follow you anywhere and love you forever. Sheep are docile. They generally won't head-butt or run you over (unless you make them REALLY mad). Sheep are givers. Their lovely wool and delicious meat make them natural-born givers. And let's face it, sheep are cute. I mean, what kind of nut-job doesn't like a sheep? Goats on the other hand...ugh. We even portray the devil himself as a goat.
But Jesus isn't asking us to be goat-haters. He is illustrating for us who we should strive to be in Him for the personality of the goat relays "I can take care of myself; I don't need you". The personality of the sheep says "I'm not sure where to go; please take care of me".
And Jesus WANTS to be our shepherd.
He so truly, kindly wants to care for us, guide us, tend us as a flock. If we are stubborn, unwilling, living a life of disaster and fight, He can do little for us. But if we are more like the sheep, He can lead us, gently. Show us the way to go. He can take us to rest, to a place of no more want, to the very right hand of the Father.
We all come into this world screaming and crying, making messes, throwing tantrums, head-butting. As we grow and mature, we lose those things. Likewise, as we grow and mature in faith, spend time with Jesus, read the word, pray, our horns and head-butting slowly give way to wool and bleat-filled trust in Him.
Praying that even as you read this, you will be open to letting the Shepherd give you peace for your resistance, rest for your stubborn heart, and restoration for your messes, as only He can. One goat to another.
When she was pregnant with her first daughter, one of Sarah Hart's many creative collaborators brought her a set of juggling balls,