Taste the Rainbow
For all you “Skittles” lovers out there, I have a question for you. When you enjoy a bag, do you keep the rainbow of flavors mixed together, or do you separate them out by color and flavor? For me, I guess it depends on whether I am using the bag of skittles as a meal replacement, or as a true dessert snack to take my time to enjoy!
I think Jesus may have separated His Skittles sometimes. In Matthew 25, He uses a parable to describe His eventual and triumphant return. He will sit on His glorious throne and all the nations will be gathered before him. Then He will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
Those on His right (the sheep) will be invited to receive their kingdom inheritance prepared for them since the creation of the world. Those on His left (goats) will be sentenced to join the devil and his angels in eternal fire. Yikes!
I’m no rancher, but I think there is a clear difference between sheep and goats. Sheep tend to rely on their shepherd, learning how to flourish as a flock. Goats, on the other hand, can be a bit more stubborn and independent, focused only on their own desires.
Jesus concludes His teaching by sharing how His sheep consistently choose to treat others as they would treat Him. That is, His followers treat even “the least of these” as if they were ministering to Jesus. But in contrast, goats are only concerned for their own good, and only serve others when there is something they will receive in return.
In our recent all-school chapel, students were encouraged to embrace this teaching, and to release the character of Christ within them. Doing good to others is not a command to follow in order to be saved. Rather, doing good to others is the result of being saved! In a culture of “What’s in it for me?”, we are called as parents and teachers to help our children transform their hearts, renew their minds, and grasp this eternal selfless perspective. True sheep replace selfish independence with a dependence upon Christ living through us.
And as they demonstrate it, I suppose sharing an occasional package of reward “Skittles” could still be appropriate!
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