• Kate Clinton

As Jealous as a Goat

We added 5 new baby goats to our family about a month ago. It has been fun getting to know them and their unique personalities. Bunny likes chickens, dogs and cats more than humans. Lilly likes humans more than animals. Oreo seems to be the boss since she has the advantage of horns. Dolly seems to be the smartest. She can easily pick up the new tricks Carley has been teaching them. She has already learned to shake hands and dance and touch her nose to the training stick. Godiva is the quiet one. They would rather be eating brush, but in our pasture, they have to settle with grass and hay. In the mornings and evenings, they get some goat grain, alfalfa pellets and sunflower seeds mixed together.

They have an interesting behavior as the 5 of them eat from 2 big bowls. They all try to eat from one. Squishing all their heads in and battling for position. The other bowl sits nearby, filled to the brim with the exact same feed they are fighting over in the crowded bowl. Until one goat gets frustrated enough to move to the unoccupied bowl and has seconds to eat alone until the whole herd notices and comes to eat from the other bowl.

As I stand in the stall, watching the silliness, it dawned on me that I can be the same way. Humans can be the same way. Discontent and jealous. Always wanting what others have instead of being thankful for our own, similar blessings. As the old saying goes, “The grass looks greener on the other side.” Or in the goats case, “The grain looks yummier in the occupied bowl.”

The Bible is full of stories of sinful humans, their jealousy, and the consequences that come as a result of it. In 2 Samuel, King David wanted his soldier's wife, Bathsheba. In Genesis 37, Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery. In 1 Samuel 18, Saul was jealous of David's battle abilities. In Genesis 3, Eve had a whole, perfect garden to eat from and ended up eating from the forbidden tree.

Jealousy and envy can begin to warp our perspective. It can allow a stronghold to form and cause us to miss the many blessing that God has given to us. We are too busy looking at what others have with an envious heart to enjoy what we have been given.

The envious heart can be hard to tame. The Holy Spirit was given to us to provide the fruit of “ love, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) Our heart needs the salvation of Jesus, the understanding of the Almighty God and the leading of the Holy Spirit to be able to overcome jealousy and envy.

The jealous, envious thoughts will come. But what will we do with them? Take our thoughts captive to Christ and count our blessings? Or let the envy settle in our hearts and consume us? One choice will lead to a life well lived, while the other will lead to a life never satisfied. God wants to help us conquer our envious heart, but are we willing? Or are we behaving like the goats? Worrying too much about what is in the other bowl than enjoying what is in our own?

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