Will You be a Sheep or Goat?

Some buddies and I loaded up a while back and drove to Dallas to hear Shane Claiborne speak. I remember him asking a question that just rocked my “religious” world. He asked, “How can you and I worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore one on Monday?”

The tough answer is … we shouldn’t.

Matthew 25:32ff:

“Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,

I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,

I was homeless and you gave me a room,

I was shivering and you gave me clothes,

I was sick and you stopped to visit,

I was in prison and you came to me.’

“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’

Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

“Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—

I was hungry and you gave me no meal,

I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,

I was homeless and you gave me no bed,

I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,

Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

“Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

“He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’”

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  • Will you be a sheep or a goat?

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
33 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Maggie Beth says:

    This reminds me of a recent event in my life (this may grow long ~ Focus Trey, Focus! WINK! ~ Just picking on you!).

    Everyday I come home from work the same way. For several months, there was a homeless man who stood at the foot of an exit ramp that I use. There is a stop sign at the foot of this ramp ~ so EVERY single car has to “stop” right by the man. He always held a sign that said, “Hungry. Will work for free”. I have secretly wondered if he can’t read (write) and had someone else make the sign. And they cruely wrote “for FREE” on the sign.

    I digress – sorry.

    Anyway, this man and I started a ‘staring contest’, For months everyday I prayed, “God, please do not let this man be there today.” and every day he was! I have worked non-profit, I have given my testimony several times in men’s homeless shelters I am not a cruel person ~ but I have always been taught, “Do not give cash!! Go pick up a burger, fries, etc. and bring it back ~ but don’t give money.” It angered me (I am SO PIOUS!!) that this man had the GALL to STARE AT ME in the face when I pulled up. It made me uncomfortable and I felt very guilty!

    One day I was coming off the ramp and I ‘heard’ God’s spirit say, “Give him the $5 in your purse.” OOOHHH IT WAS ON!! Luckily there were about 10 cars in front of me, and each had to do the stop sign dance, so it took me a while to get up there. After much arguing with God, I FINALLY! grudginly reached in my purse and got out the only cash I had ~ $5. I rolled down the window and put my arm out, the man took my money and said, “God bless you.”

    As I crossed the interesection God said, “Look back.” I looked in my rear view mirror and I counted AT LEAST!! the next 8 cars with the drivers arm hanging out to give this guy money. I felt God say, “They would have not have done that if you had not. They are following your lead.”

    Oddly, that was the last time I saw the man on the ramp.

    Guess that means that I can be a GOAT for awhile — but eventually I turn into a SHEEP!!! (LOL!!!) ~ Thanks for the reminder of that wonderful scripture.

  2. Ricco Suave' says:

    Ok, no more 10 day vacations for you. You go off and get your batteries all charged up and then you go to preaching! Next thing you’ll be doing is filling your car up with veggie oil and traveling around spreading the gospel. Would be alot of fun wouldn’t it?

  3. Linda Willis says:

    Hey Trey! I’m reading a book I think you’d like. It’s called Radical by David Platt. It’s about how the great American dream is keeping us from being the followers of Christ that we should be. After serving with you at the dump, I know where your heart is!

  4. John Clemmons says:

    Trey,
    Another great blog and topic. I’ve been raising goats for a few years now. I’ve commented several times to my bible class that I’ve learned a lot about human behavior from watching my goats and watching sheep and how Jesus’ message must have been received by His original audience. When I assess my own attitudes and behaviors with regard to the monetary and time gifts that God has given me and the way that I give these gifts away is probably more goat like than sheep like. When I look at the stats for the typical or average congregations budget expenditure for the needy I see that collectively most of us are like me. The average is somewhere between 2-5% depending on which source you go to. Since we are the “Church” I suppose that we should ask if our Lord is a shepherd of a herd of goats or a flock of sheep. A few years ago I was inspired by the writings of William Wilberforce and his astounding sense of purpose and compassion. Most Americans were completely unaware of him and efforts he made for the oppressed until recently when the movie “Amazing Grace” was released. Christ’s body is in much need of revival and I think that it must come from a heart transplant. I believe like you that we need the heart of Jesus as He described it in the passages that you ref in your blog. I’m pasting in a link to a neat site that has revived some of Wilberforce’s writings and passions :http://www.thebetterhour.org/tbh/
    Check it out, I think you’ll like it.
    Soldier On!

    • Trey Morgan says:

      John, Thanks for showing your heart all through this comment. And, you are 100% right… our church budgets need more benevolence. I’m anxious to read some of Wilberforce’s writings. Blessings.

      • John Clemmons says:

        Trey,
        I know that you’re busy and probably have a long book list but when you have time you might add “Real Christianity” by Wilberforce. Written in the late 1700’s to the Christians in England it is phenomenal. As you read it you’ll think that it is a contemporary work. If you have access to Netflix you can watch the “Better Hour” documentary online. Take care and Godspeed!

        John

  5. Marc Tindall says:

    Today, feeding friends in the dump was interesting. No less than 15 asked me for my boots, a young mom asked me for help with milk for her baby, and another said, “Marco, can you help me get a house…” So…so, hummmmmmmm.
    I am blessed with many friends that know my name there and they are faithful in asking for help – they know that I have friends like you and many others that are willing to stink like sheep. See you soon.

  6. Our church helps monthly with a homeless ministry and we go and feed homeless people downtown. This Thursday will be our time this month and I look forward to it every month. When we first started doing it my hubby was a youth pastor and we were going to start taking the youth. I had a youth parent call me and tell me she wouldn’t be sending her child nor supporting it because we were enabling those people to continue to be homeless and/or continue to abuse alcohol and drugs. I explained that I wasn’t responsible for what those people did, but I had only been called to serve. I also explained how I tell my kids all the time that they can only control their own actions and not the actions of others so they needed to make sure to always respond or act in a manner pleasing to Christ. Later that lady’s child came and eventually she started coming and in the end apologized for her initial response. Sometimes we act like a goat because we haven’t taken the time to understand the sheep.

  7. Duane Scott says:

    I don’t have a lengthy comment or something to add. This post was wonderful. It challenges each of us to be the person we are on Sunday all the time. That question your friend asked will go with me. Thanks!

  8. Theophilus says:

    “Will you be a sheep or a goat?”

    Neither. :)

    I believe, in context, Matt. 25 is talking about Jesus’ judgment on Jerusalem back in the first century & not the final judgment that is still to come.

    From Matt. 23 through 25, Jesus is speaking of how He was going to come in that generation to destroy Jerusalem. He was going to separate the Jews into two groups, those who followed Him, & those who rejected Him. Those who believed Him were gathered by Him in the wilderness (to Pella, according to Eusebius), where they were taught to flee when they saw the armies marching toward Jerusalem. The rest of the Jews did not heed Jesus’ warning, & were misled by the false prophets sent out by the Jewish Zealots. They were gathered together in Jerusalem, just before the siege started which led to the destruction of Jerusalem & those Jews who were in it.

    In Matt. 25:40, Jesus isn’t speaking of the “generic homeless,” but of Christians – “these brothers of Mine.” The reason these Christians are hungry, homeless, & in prison is due to the intense Jewish persecution towards Jewish Christians leading up to the fall of Jerusalem. They were being thrown out of the synagogue, being ostracized by their communities, having their property confiscated, & were being thrown in jail.

    While Matt. 25:32 refers to “nations,” the Jewish nation would technically have been considered nations (plural) in the time of Christ. The Jewish Land had been divided up into different provinces by the Roman Empire, & were governed by different rulers.

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Ah, Theophilus, the 70 AD theory. I’ve study it deeply with a friend. There are some good points in that theory, also some things that really bother me. I can sure see where Matthew 24 is talking of the destruction of Jerusalem, but I find it a little harder to follow in Matthew 25. While I understand that “those in prison” etc are brothers in Christ, it doesn’t excuse me looking past other in need. I think the story of the good Samaritan would be my proof on that.

      It’s been a long time since I’ve studied this, and you’ve got my interest up. I may have to go back and do it again.

      • Theophilus says:

        Trey said, “Ah, Theophilus, the 70 AD theory.”

        Nonono! I am NOT a part of the “70AD group!”

        For those that don’t know, the “70AD folks” (who include people like Max King & Don Preston) believe that ALL Bible prophecy was fulfilled by 70AD, including the Second Coming, the final judgment, & the resurrection of the dead.

        Trey said, “I’ve study it deeply with a friend. There are some good points in that theory, also some things that really bother me.”

        I’m glad it bothers you, because it is a seriously twisted doctrine. It starts out denying the future, physical resurrection of our bodies. That alone is enough to make it heretical, as the “one hope” in Eph. that all Christians are to be united upon (in Eph. 4) includes the resurrection of our physical bodies. But it gets even worse. Once one takes this view, it forces you to go back & change everything. Many of these 70AD people (I call them “hyperpreterists”) end up following it through to its logical conclusion & come to all sorts of insane doctrines, that the atonement of sins wasn’t completed at the cross, that the NT is no longer binding, universalism, etc.

        Part of the reason this doctrine is so dangerous is because they do get a lot of things right about NT prophecy. They correctly acknowledge that certain passages, usually thought to refer to the final judgment, actually refer to 70AD. Where they go dreadfully wrong is that they automatically assume EVERY passage predicting judgment refers to 70AD.

        Most people who’ve read the NT recognize there are some passages that seem to indicate the Apostles believed Jesus would come in judgment in their generation. Other passages seem to indicate that the judgment would be a long time off. There is a good reason for this: the NT predicts two different days of judgment.

        One judgment refers to Jesus judging one particular generation (Jesus’ contemporaries) of one particular nation (the Jewish nation – the Jews of Jesus’ day). The other judgment refers to when Jesus will judge ALL nations & ALL generations at the same time (the final judgment, when all the dead are physically raised). It is this last judgment that Jesus physically returns (‘in the flesh”), hence it is called “the Second Coming.”

        Trey said, “I can sure see where Matthew 24 is talking of the destruction of Jerusalem, but I find it a little harder to follow in Matthew 25.”

        I understand, I used to think much of 24 & 25 referred to the Second Coming, too. Matthew 24 & 25, the “Olivet Discourse,” is the single most important prophetic passage in the NT. How one interprets this passage (if one is consistent) directly affects how many other passages must be interpreted.

        Trey said, “While I understand that ‘those in prison’ etc are brothers in Christ, it doesn’t excuse me looking past other in need.”

        I fully agree with that. We ought to do good towards all, as that is the second greatest commandment. I hesitated to even post this here, since I didn’t want to get off topic.

        Trey said, “It’s been a long time since I’ve studied this, and you’ve got my interest up. I may have to go back and do it again.”

        I’m about to wrap up a 6 month study on NT prophecy & hyperpreterism. If you’d like, I could type up some of my findings & e-mail it to you. My recommendations to all y’all out there is to steer clear of the 70AD doctrine. It is very deceptive, & can cause some serious damage.

        • Trey Morgan says:

          Theophilus,

          Thanks for filling me in on that. I jumped to the conclusion that it was part of the Max King 70 ad theory. I would absolutely love to study more on this and read more that you have. Please feel free to email me. My address us under my picture on this page.

          Blessings

  9. Dan Beals says:

    Im gonna first say that I love the Lord with all my heart. I want to do whatever I can to truly help others. When it comes to “some” homeless people, it is tricky however.

    One thing I have noticed is that many Christians love to give $5, wipe there hands, and be done with the person. To me, its just an easy way out of the situation. The problem with that person in many ways runs much deeper than that, often times caused by a drug/alcohol addiction, a veteran who was traumatized by war, etc. It comes down to the “help” there looking for in many ways runs deeper than a 5 dollar bill. I dont see many people talking about how to help them in deeper ways… maybe like inviting them into your home. Talk to them, and see where there coming from. Maybe they need help trying to sustain themselves rather than patchwork 5 dollar bills.

    Unfortunately many people are also scam artists preying on naive people. Anyone who has been scammed or taken advantage of knows that its not a good and fuzzy feeling. When it comes with helping others I find that its important to talk to them and see where there coming from, to see if there really hurting and lost. If there is a genuine need there, then by all means we should do what we can and pray for them.

    I ask Trey or any other person on this site to please explain to me this passage in the bible….

    2 Thessalonians 3:10
    For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”.

    In all honesty, what does this passage mean to you?

    I am not trying to throw stones at all homeless people. I am more importantly trying to understand what the word of God says rather than what peoples emotions say.

    A good site I would recommend also is…

    http://www.nghhc.org/Help_homeless.html

    Any comments would be greatly appreciated

    • Theophilus says:

      I don’t think there are any easy answers or one-size-fits-all solutions. But for those that would like to have a deeper insight into helping the homeless, I’d recommend reading the book “Same Kind of Different as Me” as found at this site: http://www.samekindofdifferentasme.com/

      This book is written by two people – one, an affluent volunteer at a homeless shelter, & the other, a person who has spent most of his life on the streets. So you get to see ministry towards the homeless from both perspectives.

      It gets into what it is like to serve in a homeless shelter, what life is like as a homeless person, some of the scams used by some of the homeless, & so forth. There is some spiritism gobbledygook that detracts from the book, but if you can get past that, it is a deeply moving look at Christian ministry towards the homeless.

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Dan, I always appreciate your comments. You challenge my thinking. I’m a $5 Christian. I’m not sure how many $5 bills (or more) I’ve given out in passing. That happens when I don’t have time to stop and ask, “How can I help?” or when it’s just not possible to stop. Other times I have picked guys up, taken them to McDonald’s and had lunch with them. But, that being said, to me a five dollar bill is always better than nothing.

      95% of the people that pass through my little town are just needing some food or a place to stay for the night. They simply want to move on down the road. We have no big homeless problem here. So there’s not time to build a relationship other than a friendship. There have been many who have been repeat visitors that know where I live and stop by my house when they get to town and we get them some food and a help they need.

      As for 2 Thessalonians 3, is a great text. I’ve met people like this who are too lazy to work and they let their children go without so they can buy cigarettes or lotto game cards. But I’m not sure this passage deals with the homeless and others who are without. Many homeless people passing through, I don’t know them and their background, but if they’re hungry, I’m going to see they get fed.

      I know I live a little sheltered in a small community where we may see 3 or 4 homeless passing through a week. I’m not sure what I’d do if I lived in a place like Boston, where I’ve walked their downtown district and seen 1000’s of homeless on the streets. That would be overwhelming.

      Sorry, I’ve been rambling.

      • Dan Beals says:

        Hi Trey. I appreciate your well thought out response. Your site has brought me so much wisdom alongside of the Holy Spirit and the word of God.

        Not sure if i posted it somewhere but I actually live and work in downtown Boston, MA. This is why its on my mind a lot.

        I have been praying a lot about it. Ive come to the conclusion that many times the truly lost have little or no control of there situation, as Kim Robinson pointed out so well. Others have it in there control to change, but because of deep rooted issues have an extremely difficult time sustaining themselves. Kim also mentioned, “The only way they will learn that life can be different is if somes takes the time to show them life can be different and that can get messy and time consuming.” …. Man I’ve never heard it said so honestly… its messy and time consuming.

        To sum it up this is how I feel… Get ready for the Chinese proverb… give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat forever. We do this for our children, how is it any different with a homeless person. This is tough… and many times can be as simple as helping and motivating people to find a job/shelter/food. And this is not directed to the people with no control over there mental/physical disabilities.

        Thanks and God bless.

  10. Kim Robinson says:

    I so desparately want to be a sheep. But I don’t think I have even begun to understand what it means to a give to those in need.

    I work with homeless and impoverished people on a weekly basis. It is a tough area to work in. It is heartbreaking at times and frustrating at others. It is messy and shocking at times. But no one can judge the homeless unless they have taken the time to invest in their lives. So many times I have seen people who are so mentally disabled that there is no possible way for them to have the skills to work. They have learned to live on whatever they are given. And they are used to being treated with little or no dignity. Many times I see people who are several generations deep into social care. They don’t know anything but living off what the government and non-profits give them. The only way they will learn that life can be different is if somes takes the time to show them life can be different and that can get messy and time consuming.

    I also have come to know that many have learned the art of the scam. I still take the time to get to know them. They know I love them and they know I am not going to help them support an addiction and because I have taken the time to know them I can be pretty straightforward with them.

    What I have learned the most from working with the homeless and the impoverished is that they are desparate for someone to care, truly care about them. We have many who come to us just for the fellowship. They ask for nothing but friendship. They give me unconditional love and I hope they feel the same from me. I leave our time together many times wondering who got the blessing. I am pretty sure it is me.

    Like Linda Willis, I am reading the book, Radical. It is a hard read but a must read for every American christian. It will make you dig into God’s word and examine your heart and the decisions you make with the blessings God has given you.

    • Dan Beals says:

      You have no idea how inspiring these words are to me. Thank you so much.

      God bless.

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Kim, I’ve watched you as you’ve talked and served the homeless and needy in Oklahoma. I’ve served by your side the starving people in the dump in Honduras. I love your heart for hurting Kim, and I want a heart like yours.

      Thank you for your words.

      I’m reminded of the man I helped a while back. He was a man from Mexico who was in the US trying to work and send money to his very poor family. He showed up on my porch, hungry and needing a place to stay. I asked him if he’d like to come in, and he said, “No.”

      I took him to get a room and gave him some cash for supper. When I asked him if there was anything else he needed, he asked for a prayer. That’s not unusual, and I told him, “I’d be happy to pray for you.” He shook his head “no” and said in a thick Mexican accent, “No, I pray for you.”

      Although I couldn’t understand every word he said, I was honored when he placed his hands on my shoulders and asked the Lord to bless me. I left there that night being the one blessed.

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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