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Friday, October 16, 2009

Don't Be a Goat!

Last week while my husband was gone, Zachary (our oldest son) and I would go and feed the goats in all of the fields. Our three oldest show goats as FFA/4-H projects and they take care of them, but there are also three fields of goats that my husband takes care of mostly himself that are breeding stock.

One of the fields has a guard dog, Ranger. Ranger is very intellegent, as I was able to see for myself this week. This particular field is "U" shaped and you drive up in the middle of the "U" to feed Ranger and the goats.  There is field area on either side of the drive. When we drove up and my son got out of the pickup he said, "Mom, watch Ranger."

We had parked more towards the south side, but as soon as Zachary went towards the north side with the dog food, Ranger took off quickly and ran as hard as he could all the way around the field and to the other side to his food.  He knew immediately which side of the field his food was being taken as soon as Zachary lifted it out of the back of the pickup.  (A funny this is that he wouldn't eat it. Zachary (and my husband) say that he never eats it until they leave.)

The goats stand in a row along the south part of the field, looking at me sitting in the pickup and Zachary, as he is taking their food to the NORTH part of the field. They can see Ranger from across the field, too. But, instead of running around to the food like Ranger did, they just stand there - looking and meheheeeing (that's the sound goat's make, in case you don't know!). I'll just say that goats are "intellectually challenged"....that's a nice way to put it!

After a while...quite a while....the goats figured out that their food is on the other side of the field and then one by one they turned and began running to the other side. Now, I should explain that my husband or son do this on either side to make it easier to pour out the feed. If they poured it on the side where the goats were, they would be in the way and the feed would go everywhere.

So, I got to thinking....there HAS to be some sort of spiritual application to this story. And here's what I thought of: We are all different. We have different degrees of intelligence. We all have different talents. Some of us work quickly. Some of us work slowly. BUT, none of us should be like those goats, who day after day, do the SAME THING over and over and never figure out what is going on. They stand there for quite a while just looking and "talking" (goat language)- not having learned anything from the days before, but repeating the same thing (that doesn't work) each day. Ranger is the leader and shows that quality every day, but, he himself doesn't have any followers. 

You would think that eventually one of the goats would look to his example, but no.  They just stand together in their same group, looking at him from the other side of the field and talk.  Wonder what they are saying in goat language?  "Look at that dog?  What does he think he's doing?  He's going to the other side of the fence.  That will never work.  We've always done it this way."  Eventually one goat finally starts towards the field and then the others begin to follow.

As Christians we should be following in Jesus' footsteps, which lead to God.  But, sometimes, we are looking at those around us and see what they are doing and we follow them.  We want to stay in our comfort zones and in our familiar groups and not grow closer to God on our own.  Of course, we can learn from the examples of others, but we have to be careful not to be following them as a human beings, but instead be following Jesus - a spiritual being.  And, like the goats, sometimes we tend to just stay in our same little groups or cliques, uncomfortable to reach out to others or go along with others (who, like the dog, are taking the lead and accomplishing what he needs to)  and who also may be doing the right thing.  If we follow others, we may be learning what is "True" and "Right", but we might not be.  We must follow Jesus and God, and let the Spirit lead us. We must do what the Bible says....not what men/women say.  We must look to the examples of others to learn from them, but only be followers of Jesus.

“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” —Psalm 118:8

"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10

Can you think of any other spiritual example to this goat/dog scene?  It's amazing to watch the creatures God made!


Anonymous said...


You do such a great job applying spiritual lessons to every day life! Thank you!!!!

Laura Collinsworth

P.S. I am a friend of Amanda Rog's. I think you may know her :)

Brandi Sue said...

So they don't feed Ranger on the same side changes depending on what side doesn't have the goats that day? If so, that's so neat that Ranger knows that!! I agree, he's smart!! Good spiritual lesson as well :)

Lori said...

Laura - Thank you very much! Yes, I visited with Amanda last night at a football game. She's here visiting her parents.
Brandi - Yes, that's right. They change the feed for the goats and Ranger, depending on where the goats are....and he's going to be where the goats are. If they didn't the goats would knock the buckets and the food would go everywhere! Thank you.

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