“Sheep or Goat Which Are You? acrylic painting mosaic, July 2017 © by Donna Gonzalez
This acrylic painting is comprised of four mosaics. The symbolism of the three images hidden in this painting is sobering and in light of Matthew 25:31-46 gives one pause into serious self reflection.
Two of the images are superimposed on each other. No I didn’t purposely paint it that way, the images come forth only after they are put into a pattern. This particular pattern is only one of several possible patterns using this one particular mosaic painting. The other patterns from this mosaic aren’t so serious as this one!
The first hidden image is of a sheep’s head. The eyes are circled. I’m impressed how the nose and ears really do look like a sheep’s nose and ears!
Hmm…We as believers are the sheep of His flock, with Jesus as our faithful Good Shepherd. Sheep eat by grazing, meaning they prefer munching on grass that is low to the ground. The definition of graze means to feed on or to eat in small quantities of food at frequent but irregular intervals.
Hmm…Isn’t that what a true believer does? We spend time reading, studying the bible, fellowshipping with other Christians, spending quality time in the presence of Christ? We feast on the Word of God in small quantities frequently even if it means irregular intervals, like meditating on scriptures throughout the day, or listening to sermons or teaching on podcasts and radio as time allows. Deep calls unto deep, as we dig deeper in studying the bible, soaking up God presence and meditating on His words He reveals and teaches us more about Himself.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10:14-16
And the second hidden image is a goat’s head and is seen made up from the first image, as if it is on top of the first, but it’s really not a true “superimposed image”; rather, it is two mosaics mirrored side by side and the result is what you see. Just cover up half of the image and you’ll see one half of this mosaic is a mirror image of the other.
Now, I don’t have anything against sheep or goats, I like them both. Nor would I take the analogy to it’s extreme. I’m just noticing the correlation between animal behavior and what scripture calls the ungodly, the unbelieving and false converts – goats. It is not a coincidence that God created each animal with particular attributes, I suppose there are even variances within individuals of the same species. I do think, however; God created sheep and goats with different specific behaviors in order to teach us some important truths.
Goats are not flock minded rather they prefer to do things independently. They don’t graze instead they are browsers, meaning they often choose to select leaves, shrubs, vines, and weeds, often found at the tops of plants which are higher off the ground.
Hmm… In the world there are the ungodly and those who are unbelievers. Some are not true believers at all but false converts. They pretend and may fool other Christians into thinking they are the real deal but they don’t fool God. It is these who don’t want to spend any time feeding on the Word of God, spending time in prayer or in His presence. They can’t because they are not truly born again; they live obeying the flesh and its sinful desires. Without the Holy Spirit residing in them they have no desire to obey God’s word. If at chance they do read the bible or hear a sermon they simply browse through it selecting only those few scriptures of their liking mixing in new age word’s philosophies that tickle their ears which further draws them away from the truth. The rest of the bible they simply cannot accept or believe, they’d rather pursue worldliness not godliness.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 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.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-46
This mosaic composition also reminds me of another of Jesus’ sayings, a parable of the wheat and tares found in Matthew 13:24-30.
24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” Matthew 13:24-30
Again, I don’t have anything against wheat or tares, they are just plants doing what they were created to do. Nor would I take the analogy to it’s extreme. I’m just noticing the correlation between the two plants and what scripture calls those who are not the children of God – tares. It is not a coincidence that God created each plant with its particular attribute. I do think, however; God purposefully created both wheat and tares with specific attributes in order to teach us some important truths.
Wheat and tares do happen to look very similar much more than say… sheep and goats; and it is during the harvest that one can finally determine between wheat and tare. Tares contain lots of tiny black seeds which when consumed makes one nauseous and sick, yet the fruit of the wheat is good and healthy.
Hmm….Jesus said we would know people by their fruit. It is said the mature tare stalk stands ridged, unyielding when full with black seeds; whereas the wheat bends downward gracefully when it is full of kernels.
Hmm…We are to be a people whose lives show all the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which include meekness and humility, all of which benefits others and pleases the Father. We are not to be prideful or haughty, nor treat the less fortunate with contempt and disdain by not helping them. Our entire lives, our attitude, our behavior and our words shouldn’t make others sick and nauseous to be around with. Neither should our thoughts or the meditations of our hearts displease our Father in Heaven.
The third hidden image is this winged creature which resembles something like a bat. It can also symbolize how those who chose to live ungodly lives are under the influence of the evil one.
The way we live our lives now and the fruit we produce will be clearly evident to everyone on that Day. What may have been concealed for a time from many is now evident to everyone, showing what side of Christ we really were on all along.
In the meantime, we can choose to produce fruit that leads to death or leads to life. Let us therefore, as pilgrims on a journey, strive to continue in abiding in the Holy Spirit making the most of our time here, urging others also to walk in holiness and obedience to Christ.
May this post encourage you to remain steadfast in your walk with Jesus Christ.