Value People Over Possessions
15And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 18As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.—Mark 5:15-18
Have you ever read the Scriptures and found yourself scratching your head at what you have just read? Sometimes it is because a difficult doctrine is being discussed. Sometimes it is because we do not understand the culture in which the stories of Scripture are set. Sometimes it is because we do not understand why anyone would act the way they do. This story falls into the last category.
The story of the Gerasene demoniac is a very familiar story in the life of Jesus (it is repeated in Matthew and Luke as well.) It is a story that leaves an impression on you. A man is possessed by a demon and he is in such a bad state that he must be isolated from everyone. He gets so out of control he needs to be restrained. But the chains they use to restrain him are not able to restrain him. He is a crazed lunatic. How painful for his family!
Then Jesus comes into town and casts out the demons in him and the man is overjoyed. He is so overjoyed that he wants to be with Jesus. He wants to tell the whole world what Jesus did for him. Up to this point, I follow the story and it makes sense to me. But then I get to how the people of the village reacted. Were they overjoyed with the news of this man’s restoration? No. They want Jesus to leave. Now. They don’t rejoice that the man was healed. They don’t give praise to God for this miracle. Why?Because in the process of healing the man, many pigs were killed. The villagers don’t want to lose any more of their pigs; anymore of their stuff. They prized their possessions over this man. They may not have said that aloud, but they said it with their actions. They would have let the demoniac stay in that pitiful state rather than lose animals. And these were animals that the Lord told them were unclean!
Our hearts are capable of doing the same thing. It is very easy for us to take our eyes off the vertical realities of life like heaven, God’s glory, and Christ’s sacrifice, and focus solely on the horizontal realities; family, finances, and future plans. May the Lord teach all of us to value people over the possessions that He may give us.—Hayden Norris
- What is the most prized possession in my life? How would I feel if someone I loved accidentally destroyed it?
- In what ways does the culture instruct me to value possessions over people?
Prayer - Father, it is true that my heart is often drawn to the things of this earth and not to the things that You love most. Forgive me for making an idol out of the things You have created. Help me to see everyone that I meet as valuable. Help me to have a heart for those who do not know You. Help me to echo Your heartbeat with my life for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.