Whatever we may lose, pales in comparison to what we’ll gain. The now still waters of the lake of Galilee carried the boat quietly to shore. Embossed on the minds of twelve wide-eyed men was the image of Jesus, calming the storm that nearly cost them their lives. Jesus stepped ashore and was immediately met by a man clearly out of his mind. This lost soul lived among the tombs. He had repeatedly torn his clothes and cut himself. He was naked except for the remains of broken chains hanging from his ankles and wrists. Night and day he would cry out in torment. His guard had long been scared away; no one was strong enough to subdue him. The townspeople feared him and dared not venture close to the tombs.
Jesus approached the man and commanded his demons away. They fled from the presence of Jesus, out of the man and into herd of nearby pigs. Scrambled, disoriented and driven by the demons, nearly two thousand pigs rushed into the lake and drowned. When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they told everyone they could find. As the people came out to see for themselves, they found the man, once uncontrollably possessed, sitting peacefully near Jesus, in his right mind, lucid, clothed and calm. And they saw for themselves the pigs that had drowned, just as they had been told. Together they rose up and begged Jesus to leave them. (Luke 8:26-37)
Why would they do this? Jesus had just rid them of their number one public nuisance and freed a man possessed by the madness of demons. He gave life back to one whose life was a living hell. Shouldn’t they have begged Jesus to stay? I think when the people came upon this scene, they focused on the wrong part. Instead of seeing a man healed, they saw dead pigs. Right before their eyes sat a man miraculously made whole. The same man they all knew had been so very broken. But all they could see was the sudden loss of two thousand pigs. What would it cost them to have Jesus around? What else would they lose? What else would he send away? What would they have to give up? They were so afraid of what they would lose, that they never considered what they had just gained.
We’re not so different from the people gathered at the shore that day. When we consider allowing Jesus to be a part of our lives, our first thoughts are often: What will it cost me? What will I have to give up? What will he make me stop doing? What will I lose? We’re focused on the wrong part. When Jesus comes into our lives, he brings hope to our sagging spirit. Jesus fills the gaps in our soul, He mends what is broken and brings healing to our wounded hearts. He gives us the peace we so long for, deep in the inner places of who we are. When we let Jesus get involved in our lives, we suddenly find ourselves seated calmly beside him, secure in his love and care. What would we lose? Whatever it is pales in comparison to what we’ll gain.
“He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
“I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.”
- Take a piece of paper and fold it vertically down the middle so that you have two columns side by side.
- In the left column, make a list of all the things you are afraid of losing, whatever is holding you back from trusting God.
- In the right column, make a list of all the things you might gain by trusting God, things you find joy or pleasure in, things you are thankful for, people you are blessed to know.
- Compare the lists – which one is more significant?
- Ask God for help letting go of the fears in the left column.
- Thank God for the blessings in the right column. Write a note of appreciation to someone on this list.