Confession time: I sometimes worry about my true position in God’s kingdom. I fear that at some point, I will be horrified to find that I never really was one of the blessed sheep, but rather a cursed goat. A clever little goat in sheep’s clothing, hiding coarse straight hair under fluffy faux fleece, a goat that will one day be discovered gnawing contentedly on an old tin can, at which time my shepherd will find me out. My gig will be up!
Here’s the thing. Sometimes, I still rather enjoy the flavor of rust-coated tin crumbling between my molars. Sometimes, my tastes in life look more like the gluttonous goat than the sweet sheep, who contentedly dines on grass alone, every day of its bleating life. Is it possible that we could all be a bit of a goat in sheep’s clothing? I mean really, underneath it all, are the two animals really all that different? I suppose it all boils down to the condition of the heart. I mean, if I am worried about possibly being a goat, doesn’t that very fact that I’m concerned suggest that I might not be as goatish as I fear? When I actually used to BE a goat, I never thought about the fact that I was one. From my dusty old pen, I ate all the garbage I could scrounge up daily, and laughed at the prim and proper sheep on the other side of the field, looking like perfect round cotton balls scattered against the lush green hillside. Perhaps part of me still can’t fully accept that I, this dirty, coarse, metal-loving hooved one actually became one of them.
“Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.”
But when it comes right down to it, the whole reason that I doubt or question or fear, is a sincere desire to please my Shepherd. I want Him to pat my pretty curly head and be proud of me. When the smelly piles of garbage I used to enjoy start beckoning to my old goat nature, I question my worthiness before God because this danged head of mine almost always turns toward what used to please me. I usually just walk away, but I still wonder: are true sheep ever actually tempted to gnaw on old cans?
(Just a little something I wrote 12 years ago, and rediscovered today. Can you relate?)