This past Christ the King weekend we heard in the Gospel that Christ will come again, and at that time separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep on his right hand, a very good place to be, will have eternal life in the kingdom. The goats on his left, which is where you don't want to be, will spend eternity in hell.
Who are the sheep and who the goats? Both saw the poor, the hungry, the lonely, the needy but only one acknowledged them and did something about it - the sheep. The others, the goats, looked the other way and went about their business without concern for their welfare. Christ says it quite bluntly - when we turn our backs on the most in need, we have, in effect turned our backs on him.
Sometimes even the very best of us can inadvertently join the goats. I tell the story of the time my mother stormed away from singing in the choir at St. Thomas for about a year because of some slight or another. Closer to home, I've had my own petulant reactions when I've felt unappreciated or insulted, and have thought about quitting this ministry or that one, rather than tolerate this affront to my dignity any longer.
The trouble is when we walk away from helping others because our pride is wounded, or worse when we threaten to quit our church volunteer position as a bargaining tool or to get what we want, we turn our backs on those who need us most. We mingle with the goats. It's the poor who suffer for our hubris.
Well and good, we've probably all been there at one time or another, but if Christ comes again at that very moment, who do you want to be standing with? The sheep or the goats?