The Goat Got Out ... Again


Very recently, I had the most curious and frustrating experience with a goat.


The task, as I understood it, was to rebuild a fence that had come down after some not-so-friendly weather. And while I have built quite a number of fences so far in my life, building one for the sole purpose of containing a goat was not really something that I have had too much experience with.


Regardless, I put my mind to the task.


Now, I know that goats can be quite nimble. We have all seen pictures of that one goat standing on the side of a mountain, his body almost at a 90 degree incline, hooves perilously balanced upon a few pebbles, all in an effort to reach a delicious mouthful of leaves that it had spotted earlier.


But as I looked at the goat beside me, the one that needed to be contained (for his list of indiscretions were long), I just couldn’t for the life of me imagine how this goat would be capable of performing acrobatics of any kind. As far as athletes go, this young male was hardly what you would call an olympian.


Wider than he was tall, the goat stood a mere three feet from the ground. And far from walking the perimeter looking for yet another way to escape, he simply stood there chomping on some leaves, bored with his predicament, me, or the whole scene all together.

So we tell ourselves that the series we’re watching on Netflix is no hindrance, and we tell ourselves that passing on just this little bit of gossip about our clergy will not take its toll, but the truth is that your sin and mine, no matter how small, is nimble and wildly creative.

Fast forward many hours.


The fence that we built was at least two and a half times the height of the goat. And though we were confident that his new imprisonment afforded him the greatest luxuries, an entire field with all kinds of entertainment, in fact, we rested nearby for an hour or so afterwards just in case he really felt otherwise.


Then it happened. Just as we were about to leave, happy and confident with the work we had completed, I decided to take one last glance at the goat.


And there he was, on the other side of the fence.


Why do I bring this up today?


Because I know that many of us treat our vices and lapses into sin the same way.


We give them space and put up lower than required fences because we are convinced that our sins and our terrible ways of being and behaving are not really all that dangerous anyway.


So we tell ourselves that the series we’re watching on Netflix is no hindrance, and we tell ourselves that passing on just this little bit of gossip about our clergy will not take its toll, but the truth is that your sin and mine, no matter how small, is nimble and wildly creative.


And if we decide to let our guard down for a minute, to pack our tools up and say, “It’ll be fine for now,” then we know precisely what will happen. We’ll turn around only to find that the little goat is not where we want him to be. Our vices will run wild again.


So today, as you look for ways to live a better and more faith-filled life, to be happy and enjoy the many gifts that God has given you, please remember to keep one eye on the goat.


After all, your fences may be tall, but he is nimble and he has plans of his own.




in Christ,


patrick

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