The Christian faith makes demands of you, including that you expand your imagination beyond what you know and experience in your daily life. Few of us have spent much time with sheep and goats. Fewer still have spent time with kings. And, yet, both images were prominent in Sunday's worship services.
According to the Bible, Jesus, the one eternal King, is who determines whether someone is a sheep or a goat at the judgment. I'm told that Rev. Pietila played with that imagery in his sermon in The Well yesterday. I worked with Ephesian's celebration of Jesus as the one name (authority) above every name. We trust you were able to make the leaps required by imagery that isn't grounded in your everyday life.
I'm thinking about life under King Jesus today. I'm thinking about my prayer that I be counted as a sheep, rather than a goat when the division happens. I'm thinking about a couple of separate incidents lately when our 10 year-old daughter pointed out how we acted wrongly and how she was right and how it feels to have disappointed her.
It does not feel good to disappoint someone you love. It does not feel good to be called on it. It does feel good to be forgiven with a hug and a restoration of the relationship.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul pointed out that he thanked God for their belief in Jesus, then prayed that God would give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation as they came to know him. Belief in Jesus + a relationship with Jesus = growing in our love of Jesus.
Loving Jesus means not wanting to disappoint him with our sins and trusting that our relationship can be reconciled when we do. It means wanting to serve him by serving "the least of these" (Matthew 25:31-46) and, when we do, having confidence that, by grace, he will count us among his sheep. Loving Jesus means an opportunity for a great day ahead, if we'll keep our attention on our King and his Kingdom.