Matthew 25 - The Sheep and the Goats
‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ – Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
This passage from Matthew 25:31-46 (The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats - we suggest you read that entire section now if not totally familiar) challenges us since it indicates that people who demonstrate concern and generosity toward helping those in need – in tangible ways – will be rewarded, and that others have no such hope. It’s not enough to just have concern, for as the apostle James wrote, “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17)
That said, it is very possible to help others in all the ways Jesus spoke about, but to do so in a way that leads to no reward, perhaps to be seen by others or to receive thanks from those who benefit. Think about the Pharisees who tithed "mint, dill, and cumin" yet forgot pretty much everything else that mattered.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. - Matthew 23:23
Paul addressed something similar in 1 Corinthians 13:3:
“… if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”
We need to think through our motivations and make sure they are right, and then do something. In our case, we formed a 501(c) (3) non-profit named Sheep Not Goats in 2013, and have been working to help the poor in Nicaragua (Central America’s poorest country) ever since.
We were help along by the many biblical passages about helping the poor - far more than there are about doctrine, evangelism, church leadership, and many other topics. Books like Irresistible Revolution and A Hole in Our Gospel were also very helpful in leading us away from our pew-sitting and check-writing form of ministry.
Our philosophy revolves around work, not handouts, whenever possible. People generally know best what their true needs are and like all of us gain dignity from providing it through work.
Men working on the finca (small farm) that we built in Malpaisillo, Nicaragua
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; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ – Matthew 25:35-36 (NIV)
In 2013, we built a farm near León in Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America. In 2018, we began training women in need to knit beautiful baby blankets that we sell in the US, returning all of the profits to the knitters. This is a ministry of Sheep Not Goats. We call it Sheep Dreamzzz.
Sheep Dreamzzz knitters arrive punctually before 8AM Monday through Friday for 3 hours of knitting before returning home to make lunch for their families
If you have read this far, you understand the lesson of the sheep and the goats to help those in need. When you purchase from Sheep Dreamzzz, you not only receive a great baby gift, but you are helping a woman and a family in a sustainable way. This is ALL for them!
The ladies who knit work in our small home in a very safe and clean environment. There’s no smog, smoke, or animal hair around. It’s definitely not a factory environment (look at almost any baby blanket, including expensive ones, and you can tell it was cut from a roll and assembled in a factory).
The knitters work together, helping as many as possible to complete a blanket each week. They have become expert artisans producing baby blankets (and now loveys) of outstanding quality.
Brenda and Carla helping one another in the final stages of a blanket. Their goal is to ensure that both finish a blanket that week.
The bottom line for Matthew 25 is that each of us must actively think about and take steps to care for those in need. It's not an option. Call it a "work" if you must, but sitting idly by while others suffer not "what Jesus would do."
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. - James 1:27
Please consider helping a family via Sheep Dreamzzz. If you need to give a baby gift soon or envision it in the future, ours come with the story of how they helped a woman feed her family. There's also an option to donate to the Sheep Dreamzzz ministry. We use donations to help us bring yarn from the US (it does not exist in Nicaragua) and to help us get the word out. Donations are tax-deductible in the US.
The fluffy little sheep on our baby blankets are there because of Matthew 25, plain and simple.
“Someone gave me a Sheep Dreamzzz blanket after I had my third baby and it is, hands down, my favorite of all the baby blankets we’ve had.” – Katie (New York) ★★★★★ see all reviews
Learn more about Sheep Dreamzzz by watching the following television news interview: