Summary: Parables of Eternal Life, Part 9 of 9
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE (MATT. 25:31-46)
Shortly after the Pope had apologized to the nation of Israel for the treatment of Jews by the Catholic Church over the years, Ehud Barak, the leader of Israel, sent back a message to the College of Cardinals. The proposal was for a friendly game of golf to be played between the two leaders or their representatives to show the friendship and ecumenical spirit shared by the Catholic and Jewish faith.
The Pope met with his College of Cardinals to discuss the proposal. “Your Holiness,” said one of the Cardinals, “Mr. Barak wants to challenge you to a game of golf to show that you are old and unable to compete I am afraid that this would tarnish our image to the world.” The Pope thought about this and as he had never held a golf club in his life asked, “Don’t we have a Cardinal to represent me?” “None that plays golf very well,” a Cardinal replied. “But,” he added, “there is a man named Jack Nicklaus, an American golfer who is a devout Catholic. We can offer to make him a Cardinal, then ask him to play Mr.Barak as your personal representative. In addition to showing our spirit of co-operation, we’ll also win the match.” Everyone agreed it was a great idea. The call was made. Of course, Nicklaus was honored and agreed to play as a representative of the Pope.
The day after the match, Nicklaus reported to the Vatican to inform the Pope of the result. “I have some good news and some bad news, Your Holiness,” said the golfer.
“Tell me the good news, Cardinal Nicklaus,” said the Pope. “Well, Your Holiness, I don’t like to brag, but even though I’ve played some pretty terrific rounds of golf in my life, this was the best I have ever played, by far. I must have been inspired from above. My drives were long and true, my irons were accurate and purposeful, and my putting was perfect. With all due respect, my play was truly miraculous.” “How can there be bad news?” the Pope asked. Nicklaus sighed, “I lost to Rabbi Tiger Woods by three strokes.”
Sheep and goats are often seen together in the same grounds. Farmers, ranchers, and herdsmen usually allow them to graze and roam in the same field. Jesus did not say that observers cannot distinguish between a sheep and a goat, but that as long as they can remember, they have seen the animals together. It is pointless, redundant, work and money for the owners to place them in different fields. Sheep and goats are free to wander, mingle, and associate unless they are separated. They do not fight, envy or avoid one another.
BEWARE OF THOSE WHO DO NOT DO A THING
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ’Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Matt. 25:31-36)
Miss Jones, an elderly spinster, lived in a small Midwestern community. She had the distinction of being the oldest resident of the town. One day she died, and the editor of the local newspaper wanted to print a little caption commemorating Miss Jones’ death. However, the more he thought about it, the more he became aware that while Miss Jones had never done anything terribly wrong, yet she had never actually done anything noteworthy.
While musing over this, the editor actually went down to have his morning coffee and met the owner of the tombstone establishment in the little community. The tombstone proprietor stated that he had been having the same problem. He wanted to put something on Miss Jones’s tombstone besides her birthday and death date, but he couldn’t think of anything of significance that she had ever done.
The editor decided to go back to his office and assign to the first reporter he came across the task of writing up a small article suitable for both the paper and the tombstone. Upon returning to the office, the only fellow around was the sports editor, so he gave him the assignment. He wrote: