What I Learned from Goats

In the interim between college and medical school, I got a summer job. Using my biology degree, I got a job as a zookeeper. While most people would think this entails elephants, lions, or at least some exotic birds, I actually work with goats and sheep in the petting zoo. I feed them, brush them, make sure they get vaccines, and endlessly clean up their poop.


As I care for these animals, I am reminded the God is our Shepherd. He is our provider.

All of the goats in the yard have very different personalities, just as Christians do. At my job, I have loved to get to know each of them and their hilarious little quirks. God does this also. He loves to know us and see our personalities and have a relationship with us. There are a lot of differences among members of the flock, but it would be boring and unhealthy if it was otherwise. At my job I have also noticed a difference in the young goats and the old goats. I think they are similar to young Christians and old Christians, both are good and both are necessary. The youngest goat in the yard is only a couple of months old, and like a new Christian, he is exploring the world around him and always has an air of excitement about him. On the flip side though, he still thinks he knows better than the zookeeper. We had to give him a vaccine a couple of days ago, and naturally he fought us with every fiber of his being. He did not understand that what was momentarily painful and scary, would actually protect him from getting seriously ill and dying. Sometimes we do this to our Good Shepherd, we fight Him and flee from things that are scary or painful, but as a shepherd protects his sheep, so then does God protect us.

The oldest goat in the yard is sleepy and slow, but is entirely content with the zookeepers. He knows that whatever we are doing is for his benefit or for the benefit of others in the flock. As a Christian, I want to know God and trust God so much that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what He does, He does for my benefit. In John 10: 14-16, Jesus says,

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. 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.”

I encourage you to talk with and listen to the Good Shepherd. Like sheep, we are weak without a flock and without a shepherd. We need a community of believers to grow, the young and the old. Most of all, like sheep we need our shepherd, we need Jesus. His ways are not our ways, and we cannot always comprehend them, but He guards us like a shepherd and we are called to live in His abundant love as a member of the flock.




About the Author

unnamedKailey Shuler

Kailey is a senior biology major at Oklahoma Baptist University.  Her parents live in Edmond, Oklahoma with her three younger sisters.  She will be attending Oklahoma State University Center for Health Science medical school in the fall.  She hopes to be a pediatrician and use medicine as a witnessing tool to reach under-served populations.