While working on a message the pastor heard a knock at his office door. “Come in,” he invited.
A contrite-looking man in threadbare clothes came in, pulling a goat on a rope, “Can I talk to you for a minute?” asked the man with his hat in his hand.
Wordlessly, the pastor indicated the chair and the man sat down in it gingerly. The goat proceeded to sniff around the office.
With one eye on the animal and one on the man, the pastor folded his hands on his desk and leaned forward, curious to hear the fellow’s story, “What can I do for you?”
“My family is hungry,” started the man. “So I stole this goat. But I feel that I have sinned. Would you please take it?”
“Certainly not,” said the minister.
“Then what should I do with it?” asked the man.
“Give it back to the man you stole it from, of course!” the pastor explained.
“I offered it to him, but he refused to take it. Now what should I do?”
“In that case,” the minister said, “It would be all right for you to keep it and feed your family.”
That seemed to settle things as far as the man was concerned.
“Thank you for your help, sir.”
With a lighter step, he walked out of the office, leading the goat on the rope behind him.
Later that afternoon when the minister returned home, he said to his wife as he walked in, “I have got a story to tell you.”
“I have something to tell you first,” she exclaimed. “Someone has stolen your goat!”