My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Crowley, was always admonishing her current crop of sixth graders for being empty wagons that rattled.
That needed no explanation. She thought we were goof offs with rocks in our heads.
But I was determined to prove her wrong.
Much tougher to understand was her declaration, “It’s time to separate the sheep from the goats.”
I was never quite sure which side she was going to deposit me in and I also wasn’t sure which side I wanted. Sure, goats locked horns, were unruly and ate everything in sight, but sheep were dumb. They just stood in one place until a sheep dog or shepherd pointed them in the right direction.
But I finally figured out that Mrs. Crowley wanted us to be sheep.
Last week’s sermon was on Matthew 25 and the sheep ended up in heaven with God. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where the goats ended up.
Mrs. Crowley never did actually send the goats to the back of the room, but she did try to fill up those empty wagons that rattled. And on the days I think I hear rattling up there, I think of grumpy Mrs. Crowley, scowling at all the goats who were not paying attention. And then I try a little harder, listen a little better and mind my manners.
I’m sorry I didn’t do that in sixth grade, Mrs. Crowley. But you’ll be glad to know my wagon rarely rattles nowadays.