"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi
Of goats and geese
I like goats. I don’t
know why, but they have always fascinated me. Maybe my interest began as a
child when I could only drink goat’s milk and I would ride with my mom to Mrs.
Berry’s goat farm up off Flat Shoals Road in Decatur. Maybe the fact that they
can chew up a tin can appeals to me. I have a picture of my mother petting a
goat at Noah’s Ark Animal Rehabilitation Center saved in “my favorites” computer file. I would actually like
to own a goat one day. Whatever the reason may be for my fascination, goats are
just cool animals.
If you are heading
north on Highway 155 from McDonough, just barely past Miller’s Store, you can
see the most recent attraction for me and my family. In a fenced-in area on the
right there is a pretty black and white goat and he has a couple friends who
follow him everywhere he goes. No, the friends aren’t his fellow goats, but two
geese. White duck-like creatures with long necks and yellow bills which can honk
and bite the stew out of your leg.
The remarkable thing
about this goat and his geese friends is that they are virtually inseparable. I
pass this pen several times a week and unless the weather is awful or the night
is dark, you will always see the goat and the geese. Often, they are standing
at the fence at Hwy. 155 watching traffic and other times they are down in the
back, but they are always together.
communities be like that? Shouldn’t our churches be more like that? I mean, how
much more diverse can it get than when a goat and geese hang out together all
the time? Our communities and churches continue to become more diverse in
cultural, ethnic and economic groups. When all these groups come together for a
common effort, it is a great thing of which to be a part. To learn and
experience how other cultures live and how they worship God. To engage in
honest dialogue about how your church might be able to meet the spiritual needs
of your neighbors. To reach out to those in our cities and county who need some
of God’s love spread to them, yet we aren’t quite comfortable with their life
choices and situations.
I spent last weekend
back with my Tybee Church friends and once again returned home full of the love
and acceptance of the fellowship. The diversity in that bar church amazes me.
They truly believe and act out the ministry of taking care of each other….and
the best part is that they don’t care if their names are known or that they
receive recognition. This spirit of giving is what keeps calling me back to
Jesus hung out with
Samaritans. He said to forgive the adulterous woman. He ate supper with all
manner of people that weren’t considered appropriate to Jewish society. He didn’t
care what others said; Jesus’ purpose was to share God’s Love to everyone.
Everyone with whom he came in contact. Regardless. Should we do any less if we
are following the examples Jesus set for us?
When the goat turns
to the left, the geese turn to the left. When the goat heads across the field,
the geese closely follow. Three animals, different species, different colors,
different languages. When God tells us to “go and tell,” we should go and tell.
If He tells us that our neighbor from a lower economic class needs help, we
should help. When we feel God’s leading to be kind to someone of another skin
color and language, we should do so. Regardless. Just remember the goat and the
And for today my
friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.