No Goats in Heaven

October 09, 2017 | Dick Duerksen

I’m not sure what God has against goats, but it looks like they’ll be missing in the New Earth. Sheep make it, but no goats.

Jesus' own words are recorded in Matt. 25:31: “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another.”

Jesus told the “Sheep and Goats” parable to people who really wanted to get into heaven. They listened eagerly, taking careful notes on how to make it through the gates.

As Jesus described the Great Judge placing the sheep at His right hand and the goats on His left, some of the people poked each other and made “baaaaing” sounds, assuming, of course, that they would all be sheep.

No such luck. Yes, there were sheep, but there were a whole lot more goats! And the funny thing was, both groups were surprised!

The sheep were surprised because they didn’t think they had spent that much time caring for sick people, making sure widows had food, sending care packages to Somalia and visiting the outcasts in prisons.

“Sure, Lord, we did that, but it wasn’t anything special,” they said. “It’s just what we learned to do as You led us to love being loved by You.”

The goaty folks were also surprised.

“Wait a minute, Lord. We did all that stuff too. Just like You told us to. We even kept track of it on a magnetic chart that hung on the refrigerator door. We visited prisoners 734 times, helped 23 widows and bought 19 heifers for ADRA. Wasn’t that what You asked?”

I like the way Ellen White wrote about the Judge’s decision in Chapter 70 of The Desire of Ages:

“Thus Christ on the Mount of Olives pictured to His disciples the scene of the great judgment day. And He represented its decision as turning upon one point. When the nations are gathered before Him, there will be but two classes, and their eternal destiny will be determined by what they have done or have neglected to do for Him in the person of the poor and the suffering.”

I’m amazed THE ONE THING that determines my eternal destiny is how I cared for the poor and suffering. Nothing is said about understanding prophecy, or being a martyr, or memorizing all of Ezekiel, or even keeping Sabbath. Only ONE THING. Have I loved the unlovely?

Goats or sheep. What makes the difference?

If we’re “doing” because Jesus said “do,” we’re goats.

If we’re “doing” because we’ve asked Jesus to get inside us and change the way we look at our world, we cannot help but serve. We’re sheep.

That takes me back to Ellen White and a prayer she challenges me to pray:

“Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me, in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul.”

Sounds like sheep to me!