When I met Mike, my world grew bigger.
Mike introduced me to Bear, Grady, Pedro, Mellissandra, Bubba, Elizabeth, Baby Gary, Stanley, Tony, Amy, Boyce, Dallas, Hadley, Guitar Dave, and Jesse.
They live on the streets in Austin, Texas. Most are alcoholics. They all have broken relationships with family, friends, and God. They are troubled people.
In a sermon, entitled “Jesus with the Troubled Man,” pastor Dr. Ed Young, described how much Jesus values troubled people. The demoniac of Gadara, or Mr. Legion, was over-the-top psychotic, due to the 3000-6000 demons that resided in him. Jesus sent the evil spirits into a herd of swine, and the man was healed.
As a child, I wondered what happened to the pigs’ owners whose livelihood raced over a cliff, and drowned in the sea. Two thousand pigs represented food on the table, clothes, medicine, children’s shoes, home repairs. It didn’t seem right that hard-working people lost their means of earning a living.
My world grew bigger when I took my eyes off of the monetary worth of pigs, and focused on God—the God who loves people so much that He became “a people.” The truth of the matter is that one soul, restored to sanity is worth more to God than 2000 pigs. One life made whole, whether it be from demon possession, emotional illness, addictions, or the stress of everyday life, is infinitely more valuable than the economic foundation of an entire region.
The Gadarines didn’t grasp the eternal significance of Jesus’ actions, and so they pressured Jesus to leave. As the healed man continued to live in the area, testifying to God’s goodness and the healing power of Jesus, I like to think that many ruptured relationships were restored.
The story of “Jesus with the Troubled Man,” recorded in Mark 5:1-20, is good news for me. It’s good news for Mike. It’s good news for the whole, troubled world.
hearts are mended,
in the presence
of the King.