This morning I want to tell you a true story. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine from church bought a place out in the country. On the property was a small pond and in the middle of the pond he noticed a goose. No one had lived there for several months so my friend thought that the goose would eventually leave after they moved in. Instead, the goose stayed on so eventually he gave it a name. He called it “Goose”. Now Goose was kind of a confused critter. It seems that he didn’t quite know that he was a goose. For instance, when the deer would come around in the evening Goose would get out of the pond and not only follow the deer around, but he would also kind of act like them. If they got something to eat, then he would get something to eat. If they got something to drink, then he would get something to drink. When they left, he went back to the pond. But it wasn’t just the deer that Goose would try to act like. He did the same thing when the turkeys came around. Goose definitely had an identity problem.
One day my friend’s wife was at the feed store and saw a few baby ducks that were left over from Easter. She couldn’t stand to think of them as being orphaned so she bought them and brought them home to put in the pond. She wasn’t sure how Goose would react to having to share the pond with the ducks but the most amazing thing happened. Instead of Goose being jealous of the ducks or trying to act like them he immediately started acting like their parent. He would round them up if they wandered off and if someone he didn’t know came toward them, then Goose would herd the ducks into the pond and away from possible danger.
One evening, my friend heard a lot of squawking and commotion so he looked out his window. The loud squawking was coming from Goose as he raced toward the pond, followed closely by the ducks. Back where they had been was a bobcat. Goose had sensed the bobcat in time to head back toward the safety of the pond but one of the ducks was a little slow and got caught. When Goose heard the cries of the captured duck he stopped, turned around, lowered his head like geese do when they get riled up, and charged back toward the bobcat. Well the bobcat was so surprised to see this that he let go of the duck. But that wasn’t good enough for Goose. He kept charging and rammed right into the stunned bobcat. Fur and feathers were flying as my friend ran out toward them. The bobcat ran off when he saw my friend coming but the damage had been done. Goose was badly injured and only lasted a couple more days.
There are two morals that we can get from this story. The first is that Jesus is kind of like Goose because instead of abandoning us to the claws of our sin he gave his life to save us. The second moral is that sometimes we are like Goose. We go around not knowing quite who we are or what our purpose in life should be. But life is full of opportunities to care for someone else. Maybe it’s just a small thing like helping someone carry their plate to the table when they have their hands full. The point is that we are doing it for someone other than ourselves. And in that way I think we find a little bit of what God wants all of us to be.