10 ways to be a sheep and not a goat. - A tale of two animals

Matthew 25 31-46


Background


As Jesus travelled around telling people about God, he used parables to illustrate what he was trying to say. A parable is a story with more than one meaning.

At first it looks like a simple story but actually if you listen a bit closer you realise that it is quite challenging. Jesus used themes that the people knew about in his parables. The people knew about sheep and goats they knew about shepherds.

Sheep

When we think about sheep we see the fluffy white animals that live in green fields, munching
awayall day at the green grass in the sunshine with their friends. A wonderful life.

A friend of mine who is a farmer told me, that sheep need a lot of looking after. They find it quite easy to get lost, to fall in ditches, to climb into water butts and not be able to get out, and they get tangled in thorns.

Earlier today the farmer was moving the sheep from the field up the hill to a larger field off they went one behind another, but the sheep got scared and panicked and up the lane to the forest they fled, the whole hundred of them.

The farmer and his four dogs had to go and rescue them all. The sheep feel safe when the shepherd is there looking after them, they know the shepherds voice they listen out for him, they know he will protect them and feed them.

Goats


You would think that goats would be very like sheep, they are about the same size, they are the samecolour they eat grass as well. Goats are in fact very different indeed to sheep. They are very independent and stubborn.They love doing their own thing, they only think about themselves and food well they just will do anything to get it, and it doesn’t matter what kind of food it is goats even eat rubbish.

Do you know that if the farmer gave the kids food and the mother goat decides she is hungry, she ignores the needs of the kid and butts it out of the way and helps herself.If a shepherd went on holiday and left the goats to fend for themselves they probably would.


We find Jesus separating the sheep and goats.The sheep are good they have listened and have done what God has asked – he puts them in one pen.And the goats that haven’t listened or done as God has asked he puts them in another pen.

Application:


Jesus wants us to be like the sheep he tells us that if we listen and follow Him and love other people then we will go to heaven.10 ways to be a sheep and not a goat.

We have to ask ourselves whether we are a sheep or a goat?

Sheep listen to the Shepherd hear him and act. Do you?God wants us to love one another, not just with words but with action.

  • Take an extra biscuit in your packed lunch and give it to someone.
  • Do you have an elderly neighbour? Perhaps with your grown up’s permission you could bake some cookies and take them around. 
  • Put pennies in a smartie tube and give the money to charity. 
  • Offer to help someone younger than you or perhaps look out in the playground in case someone needs a help. 
  • If you have old toys you no longer need or have grown out of – why not give them to a children’s charity. 
  • Sort out all your old clothes and give them to charity.
  • Pray for someone every day. 
  • Keep your room tidy without being asked.Set the table for dinner to help your mum.
  • Do things without complaining or moaning.

I’m quite sure the children can come up with lots of ideas of being sheep.

Craft:

The children can make sheep, there are lots of sheep templates on the web have a look here.
Or for the young helping hands, have a look here.
A crossword puzzle
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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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