Radix Fidem: We rule nothing. At the most, we hold a very limited dominion in this world. We manage what few things Our Lord has entrusted to each of us as His servants. The probabilities of any of us having significant human authority are remote. We are used to this.
When Jesus talked about sheep and goats (starting in Matthew 25:31), His point was about faithfulness to His lordship via Biblical Law. This is not about charity; it’s about family taking care of family. It’s about governing over the household of faith. The only way you can be a sheep is to concern yourself with things sheep focus on: eating and making more sheep. We grow wool only to be sheared. It’s all about serving our divine purpose.
The only reason there are goats involved is because sheep appear to be stupid out in the pasture. They really don’t pay much attention to anything beyond eating and making more sheep. So a shepherd keeps goats in his flock because they pay more attention to threats, like predators and unsafe terrain. But what they produce isn’t worth nearly as much as what sheep do. The goats are useful only to help keep the sheep alive and safe.
The sheep of the Lord’s pasture are lousy governors. When they become good at governing, they become lousy sheep, and are more like goats. It’s not that sheep are totally defenseless; rams are known for being aggressive at protecting their own. But they lack strategic vision because it requires paying less attention to the mission at hand. Strategic vision is not a mark of holiness and divine calling. While goats tend to lead the flock away from danger, it’s out of pure self-interest. But it works well enough.
This picture would be in the minds of those who heard Jesus tell this parable. After three years with Jesus, thinking they were preparing to work in His Messianic court ruling over the world, Jesus was trying to bring them back to sanity. They were sheep, not goats. They were valuable to the Father as sheep, doing what sheep do, and governing their fellow sheep was not part of that. They would be granted a highly limited dominion among the sheep and let the goats worry about everything else.
Notice what this says about elders in the congregation. You should prefer sheep who self-limit, not the goats lauded by normal human standards. Look for someone who focuses on sheep being sheep.
Genuine followers of Christ make the worst governments in human history. There are plenty of other reasons governments might be bad, but true believers aren’t equipped for government. This is a general observation Christ Himself made. It’s a warning not to expect many opportunities for making decisions about such things. Let God our Shepherd worry about that, and give room for the goats He appoints. In due time, it will become apparent who is His treasured flock; the mark of His favor is not political savvy and power.