There’s a passage in the New Testament that you’ve probably heard before. It shows us how to live a life of significance. Jesus teaches about a future event where people will be gathered and separated from one another as a shepherd divides sheep from goats. In the passage, the sheep are commended and rewarded.
The goats? Well …
The goats get to reap the harvest of living what I call, "The Goatlife."
I believe that beyond the religious implications, this teaching is a metaphor for life itself. Jesus tells the sheep why they received favor. He says the famous words, “For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.”
It turns out the sheep weren’t even aware of what they were doing because upon hearing this they ask him plainly, “When?—When did we give you food and drink? When did we give you shelter, or clothing or a visit?
The answer is the key to the passage and a key to living a life of significance: “Whatever you did for one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me.”
As for the goats; they were cast out of his sight for doing none of these things—They failed to help the hungry, the thirsty, those in need of shelter and compassion, but had the same question: “When did we (not) give you food and drink? When did we (not) give you shelter, or clothing or a visit?”
Same answer: “Whatever you did (not) do for one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did (not) do for me.”
This is the Goatlife. It involves living small. It’s about being so caught up with yourself that you overlook the sea of human need all around you. It’s about “getting yours.” It’s forgetting (or never learning) that the joy in life is found in what you give.
There’s only one cure for the Goatlife. You’ve got to walk away from it. You have to stop right now and decide how you will use your oxygen. Who will you bless? Whose life will you change? Where will you shine your light?
These are not religious questions, or business questions, or any other category. These are the fundamental questions of life. Think it through, and then walk as far away from the Goatlife as soon as possible.
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