February 20 – Can I Have My Pigs Back?

can-i-have-my-pigs

But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” (Mark 5:19)

Read: Leviticus 9:7-10:20, Mark 4:26-5:20, Psalm 37:30-40, Proverbs 10:6-7

Relate: I have heard time and time again sermons, illustrations, and messages about the time Jesus cast the demons out and sent them into a herd of pigs. I have heard some amazing insights and I have heard some stuff that made me question the speaker’s sanity let alone their scholarship. There is one simple observation that I don’t think I have ever heard anyone else make, perhaps some have and I just missed it, but either way it seems too obvious to be so often overlooked… Either one individual in the community was awfully rich or this herd of pigs that just drowned was actually a community affair. In today’s market, a herd of  two thousand pigs is going to run between $300,000-$400,000. Can you imagine a four hundred thousand dollar investment and watching it run right off a cliff? If I owned my house and watched it, with everything inside it, including the car in the garage, go up in flames. Then I realized that I didn’t have any insurance on any of it… I’d probably start to have a little bit of an idea of what watching those pigs run off and drown themselves must be like. Lets keep that in mind when we get back to the rest of the story.

So the pigs are gone but nobody realizes it yet when crazy Joe comes waltzing into town. He’s dressed and… well, he doesn’t look so crazy anymore. There’s definitely a happy spring in his step as he walks right to the town square, a different kind of happy than when he used to be sitting around naked picking the legs of bugs with drool coming down the side of his mouth. This is a normal, sort of happy, like it’s his birthday and the party’s about to start or something. Everybody gathers around to watch what is about to happen. We all love a freak show and crazy Joe has been this town’s regular entertainment for years. Just so long as you don’t get too close. Joe has been known to pick the legs off more than just bugs. Anyways, with coming right into town… well, everybody loves a train wreck too and somebody’s gonna be having a real bad day real soon. I gather with the rest because I know I am faster than at least half the crowd. I don’t have to outrun Joe, I just have to outrun whichever out of shape fool becomes his victim. Crazy Joe looks around at the gathering crowd, smirks a freakishly normal, happy smirk and says, “I’ve got some good news and some bad news.” He tells the whole story but he lost most of us at tuned out with the pigs going kamikaze into the lake. Just like everyone else who had invested so much, I’m going to be thinking, “That’s great for you but perhaps you could go back to being crazy and I could get my pigs back?”

Relate: This demon possessed man was the first person who was told to go and tell rather than come and follow. He was the very first missionary. His past disqualifies him. His knowledge of who Jesus is and what He teaches is also very limited. “Who is he? I don’t know, some guy who heals people and kills pigs. There’s a bunch of other guys who follow him around but apparently I can’t be one of them.”

My past disqualifies me from being a missionary. I’m a failure. I’ve let God and nearly everyone else I know down. Time and time again I have failed. There are plenty of other people without the scarred history and the skeletal closets that I have to deal with who would be far better candidates to serve God. My education disqualifies me. I’m not smart enough, sharp enough, a good enough speaker and I have learned the hard way that I am horrible at learning other languages. I get tongue tied when I have to think on my feet. I just don’t know enough. Hogwash. Literally. Two thousand pigs running into a lake hogwash. Jesus chose a formerly insane man with almost no knowledge of who He is. He then sent that poor guy into a hostile environment. That was the very first missionary, He can use anyone. He can use me. He can use you.

Respond: 

Dear God,
So often I look at myself and see an underqualified failure. I know You want to use me but the two questions that always pop up are why and how. I don’t know why You would chose me to reach my friends, my family, and my world but You did. Help me to be equal to the task. I don’t know how the little I can say will have any effect. Speak through me. If You can use anyone… use me.
Amen

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18 thoughts on “February 20 – Can I Have My Pigs Back?

  1. I’ve also always wondered about the owner of the pigs… at any rate you are so right none of us is really qualified, and we don’t ever have to be because He is! Nice read, thanks for posting.

  2. “Jesus chose a formerly insane man with almost no knowledge of who He is. He then sent that poor guy into a hostile environment. That was the very first missionary, He can use anyone. He can use me. He can use you.”

    LOL! Amen. I loved this.

  3. Thanks. I was deleting everything in my mailbox in the account all my blog notifications come to as I’ve been doing for a while. This post wasn’t in the main group … it was by itself with a Flickr post from a woman I know, a woman I have only ever seen twice at a monastery, talked to her for about an hour total and it has been five years (on retreat), a woman’s whose photographs I like a lot.

    I haven’t opened the Flickr email.

    I can relate to losing everything because I have and I have only been in the process of pulling out of yet another nosedive. The pig story I can relate to but … until today I could not relate anymore to the music that you included with the post.

    I cried.

    I’d write about my experiences with God but, since I’m “crazy”, no one (and that includes myself most of the time) would believe them.

    The music gave me hope and … I believe God wanted me to hear it and perhaps you are more of a missionary than you thought.

    Thanks again.

  4. Just be you. God called you and brought you to this place because, among other things, He loves you. Still there is more to the assignment, He choose you because you can reach certain people no one else in the world could reach, because you are you. No one can be you except you and whether it’s planting seeds or praying for the sick or leading someone to the throne of God no one does it quite like you. So… God choose you for you to be you! Hey, you’re doing a wonderful job of being “YOU”! Thanks Lord! Steve

    On Mon, Feb 20, 2017 at 10:13 AM, THE RIVER WALK wrote:

    > Beejai posted: ” But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell > them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” > (Mark 5:19) Read: Leviticus 9:7-10:20, Mark 4:26-5:20, Psalm 37:30-40, > Proverbs 10:6-7 Relate: I have heard time and time ” >

  5. Brilliant! Love your sense of humor: “Who is he? I don’t know, some guy who heals people and kills pigs.” That is outstanding. But so is all the blog. You are so right: if God can use a formerly insane person and send him into a hostile environment…he can use the rest of us! Thanks.

  6. Jesus’ command to us all is to “go”. You make a great point about us making excuses. If we would only listen to him.

    Just an opinion, but the value of the pigs seems a little inflated for that place and time. Here’s my reasoning. In different places around the USA there are hogs that run free and they’re a terrible nuisance to the farmers and residents because they consume everything in sight and make a mess of the place. They’re incredibly difficult to get rid of because they breed rapidly. They will also attack people when in a herd. At the time it was against the Jewish law to consume pork so the only market for this animal would have been to gentiles. You make an awesome point that I’ve often wondered about myself. But, Jesus may have actually done a great service to the community.

    • This is a good thought but the side of the lake this demon possessed man was from is not heavily populated by Jews. The town and a large majority of other communities in the area would all have been gentile. Also reference to “those tending the pigs” means these were not just wild swine running free.

  7. Pingback: “Can I have my pigs back?” | See, there's this thing called biology...

  8. A great picture of going into the world. I can imagine if he was ridiculed, or hugged, or shunned, or loved. But he went anyway to tell others 😀. So I asked myself, “Have I told anyone what He had done for me lately?” This is a wonderful new lesson on this story. Thanks!

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