Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

May 20, 2011

Sheep and Goats

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

As a young boy, I had a goat. He was one of the gang. As boys, 7 and 8 years old, we played a lot of cowboys and Indians. Billy, my goat, (That’s an original name for a goat, eh?} would play with us. He would follow us, run with us, and even press up against us. That is, when he wanted to. Other times he would ignore us. But I loved Billy.

One winter night, I became concerned about Billy getting cold. I slipped out the back door and got Billy. With all the strength I could muster, I carried him high enough off the floor so that my parents would not hear him. I got him to lay down on a small rug beside my bed. But in no time, Billy was on his feet. And he was curious! He began to walk across the floor. Those hoofs made a loud sound on the wooden floors. The door opened! My parents stood there. Imagine what followed! Billy was outside for the night! I am pleased to say that Billy was the only one ejected that night! 

I was later to become a goat myself! Not literally, of course. My family moved to Clarkston, just five miles away when my dad bought the family business. I was just entering the seventh grade. Clarkston was known as Goatville. Well, not in that year, but in earlier years. In the 1800s, a train passed through time and derailed. Several cars lost their cargo of goats. The goats took over the town, and people began to refer to Clarkston as Goatville. Another tale was that it was a status symbol to own 15 to 20 goats, and especially if they were Angora goats, the highest breed. In 1927 the Clarkston High students began to call themselves the Angoras! So, now that I was a student at Clarkston, I was a goat–an Angora! And proud to be called an Angora! 

I have learned something about goats. To human beings the goat seems uncommonly curious. It observes with alertness any strange circumstance and people. A goat proves to be courageous when in danger. Many a dog has great respect for goats! Goats are climbers and jumpers. They like to get on high places, whether a rock or even a dog house, so they can observe their surroundings. Goats can go it alone, but they are really sociable animals, and not as happy alone as when with other goats or people. 

Goats can exhibited different behavior. They can be silly or malicious. But most of all, they can be very obstinate. Their unpredictable behavior can be seen in their eating. You can give them choice food, but they may refuse it and go for a piece of paper hung on the fence across the yard. You can watch them stand on their hind legs to reach bushes and trees so they can eat the leaves they like. They are indeed fascinating, and usually, delightful creatures. 

Recently, as I thought about goats, a question came to me. In Matthew 25:32, Jesus spoke that the day would come when he will separate the sheep from the goats–meaning, the lost from the saved. Why did He use this analogy? Do I need to examine myself by the characteristics of these animals!

In Palestine, sheep and goats were often mixed in a single flock. At night they were separated, the goats requiring more protection from the cold than the sheep. That would seem easy. Goats and sheep don’t look alike. Or do they? The older ones are very different. I suppose that as humans, we look different from when we were young, or as believers we certainly will display a different character than when we were first saved. Goats and sheep have much the same structure. There skeleton is very similar. As they get older, the hair and wool show a difference, as with the tail, sometimes a goatee, and even horns! But as young ones, it can be hard to distinguish. 

How can you separate them if you saw them all in the same flock? The shepherd would know! And we must remember, the Great Shepherd knows!  He knows us personally.  He knows all about us.  The Creator cannot be fooled!

 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep . . . .”  (John 10:14)
















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