March Madness is about to get into full swing, and I love it! In fact, I’ve already got my bracket filled out. I’m enrolled in a couple friendly competitions online, plus the office game that gives the winner bragging rights for a couple weeks!
With so much emphasis on sports in today’s society, you’ve probably heard someone referred to as the goat. If you haven’t, then you probably think that’s pretty weird. I know exactly what you mean. I remember the first time I heard someone called a goat. I was walking through the living room while a ballgame was playing on TV. I had to stop and look at the TV because I thought I had heard it wrong. Then after I heard it again, I had to look up what in the world that meant. Turns out it’s an acronym that stands for Greatest Of All Time. It has become quite a common phrase. I’ve heard Lebron James referred to as the goat (though I don’t think kids today have ever heard of Michael Jordan). John Wooden is sometimes called the goat. Tom Brady is often called the goat (unless you’re from Tennessee like me, then it’s Peyton Manning). In the technology world, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are rival goats. In the music world, you might consider the battle over the goat to be between Elvis and The Beatles.
As you can tell, the choices are very subjective and biased.
When someone is called the goat, I know that it’s all in good fun. Friends will use it in a joking and casual way, and that’s fine. However, as Christians, there are a couple things this should make us think about:
- We should never strive to be the “goat”. We are called to live in humility (James 4:10; Matthew 20:16). We are not to strive for earthly fame or recognition. It may come naturally at times, though it should never be the goal. If we are brought praise and honor, we should handle the recognition the same way as Paul (I Corinthians 3:5-7) and redirect the glory back to God.
- There has already been a “goat” on this Earth that will never be surpassed. Jesus the Christ. He is the ideal example that we should all strive to be like (I Corinthians 11:1). He has and continues to rule over everything (Psalm 8:6). He has accomplished things that were not even possible for us to consider due to our failures and weaknesses (Matthew 26:41; I Corinthians 15:20-28; Hebrews 10:12-14). He truly is the greatest that has ever been or ever will be.
- Things didn’t always go so well for the goats. Just before the Passover and His betrayal, Christ talked to his disciples about how the sheep and the goats will be separated from one another at the judgment (Matthew 25:31-46). The sheep represent those who lived faithfully to Christ and His word, ultimately accepting their reward in heaven. The goats did not. They were delivered “into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (v.41). May we never forget that the judgment will come. There will be a separating of the wheat from the chaff (Matthew 3:12). Since we do not know when that time will come (Mark 13:32-37), we must always be vigilant.
May we not look up one day and be surrounded by goats, while looking across the way at the sheep as they enter heaven.