Sacrificing my Herd of Pigs

IMG_7671wicThe very handsome guy in the picture above is my 7 year old son Jacob. He is an amazing kid! He loves to go to church, and not just for the video games that he gets to play after the children’s service. He says he loves the God songs best. I melt every time I see him raise his little arms in worship. 


One Sunday as we were leaving church I noticed that Jacob was being unusually quiet (he talks ALL THE TIME). When we got to the car I asked him what was up and he told me he was feeling sad because he didn’t have any more money for the shoe. What the heck? As it turns out the children’s worship class had been taking an offering every Sunday to support world missions and at each service the children put their offering in some sort of shoe (I’m assuming that the shoe has something to do with clothing people?) I had no idea they were giving to missions and I also had no idea that every Sunday my little guy was taking a coin out of his little piggy bank and giving it as his offering when he went to church. He had given it all away and was sad because he had no more to give. And, yes I cried (his dad did too.)


Remember the part where Jesus was talking about receiving the kingdom like a little child? Yea, this is what he was talking about.


Jacob does not get his propensity for sacrificial giving from me and I have a lot to learn from him. It is often difficult for me to give sacrificially and when I do it is often with a sigh while thinking about what could have been (mani/pedi, new shoes, have the deck fixed, new shoes.) With this in mind Matthew 8:28-34 really stuck with me today. 


In this passage Jesus meets up with two demon possessed men who are so violent and offensive no one could go near them. These guys were clearly living on the fringes of society. The demons, afraid of Jesus’ power begged him to cast them into a heard of pigs that were feeding near by. When they were cast into the pigs the men were healed of their affliction and the entire heard of demonic pigs drown themselves in the lake. The men attending the pigs told of Jesus miracle (in Mark’s retelling he indicates that they reported “all about the swine”) and the ENTIRE town showed up and pleaded with Jesus to leave their land. Craziness.


My study bible suggests that the crowd of people weren’t really upset about the demonic men, they were unhappy because they lost a few hundred pigs. Makes sense. It’s often all about the money isn’t it? In this case even if the people were glad that the resident derelicts were now clothed, in their right minds, and no longer acting violently against them they were very unhappy that it had to happen at their expense. 


Before I cast stones at these towns people I have to really examine myself. If Jesus showed up at my house tomorrow and said ”Look Nicole, I need to take all of your family’s wages for an entire year so I can bless and restore two homeless, drug addicted, spiritually possessed men at the Rescue Mission” would I be ok with it? That is essentially what Jesus did when he cast the demons into the herd and they were destroyed. The truth is I would be thrilled that the men received healing but I don’t know if I’d be thrilled about it happening on what I consider “my dime”. 


So, my question for myself today is when will I really, truly begin to see my dime as God’s dime? His to give and His to ask me to give. I want to be strong enough in spirit to follow God’s command to surrender our herd of pigs to Him and His kingdom work. I want to celebrate the life giving, life restoring miracles of Jesus even if it costs me every pig that we own. I long for child like faith, faith like my son’s. I want to be able to hold my empty piggy bank and be sad, not because I have nothing, but because I have nothing left to give.


On this topic, if you haven’t read Francis Chan’s book ‘Crazy Love’ you should check it out. It will move you. Here’s the amazon link:


One more thing… Jacob, mommy loves you and is very, very, very proud of you! 



Filed under Bible, blog, christianity, church, faith, inspiration, Uncategorized

6 responses to “Sacrificing my Herd of Pigs

  1. Anonymous

    You were right Nicole…I do love this story. Jacob is a pretty amazing kid. Like the widow who gave all she had, Jesus is most definitely pleased with Jacob’s heart to give. It does challenge me too. It’s easy to give when it doesn’t feel sacrificial. But what’s the point then? Because it’s not about the amount but about the spirit behind it. Thank you Jacob for teaching all us grown ups how to live and give.
    Tuesday, May 5, 2009 – 07:45 AM

  2. Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing that story, Nicole.
    Learning to give is one level; yearning to give is a much deeper level.
    Maybe Jacob has the “gift” of giving.
    It’s pretty rare.
    Tuesday, May 5, 2009 – 10:15 AM

  3. Anonymous

    Matthew 7:7-11. God is always giving us good gifts even when they’re not what we were expecting. For instance… a while back we were having some money problems. Of course I was praying about this: ask and you shall receive. And of course, being enlightened as I am (I’m a big time operator) I was praying for God’s will to be done, even though I was deeply hoping that God’s will would turn out to be just giving us a lump sum from some unspecified source that would solve everything. What I got instead was a lengthy process that, besides resolving the “money problem,” addressed the real problem, which was my idolatrous relationship with money. In this process things did not always go as I wished and decisions were not always easy. These verses in Matthew were a help to me at that time. I asked God for what was best in his eyes, right? So I could have faith that he wasn’t going to give me garbage. And what I got was a release a kind of fear that ran much deeper than I would ever have admitted to myself. Being such a prideful and controlling person, I guess I just need occasional reassurance that when things are going God’s way instead of my way, it’s actually better.
    Tuesday, May 5, 2009 – 09:10 PM

  4. Anonymous

    Love Jacobs story! If we could all be like Jacob. Giving to God used to be a struggle. I had lots of excuses (and bills to prove it) and reasons why I couldnt aford to give. But God tells us that he will provide all of our needs. Since I started to give to Him first, He does provide. I always seem to have more left over when I give. God does bless us and he will bless Jacob!
    Tuesday, May 5, 2009 – 11:12 PM

  5. Anonymous

    I thought the same things about the villagers, hey they were mad cause their herd was lost and therefore their food and income. But you’re right to step back and see how we are doing this everyday. I don’t know that I could be that selfless to hand over my income for a year and have faith that God would provide.

    I love the story about Jacob thank you for sharing that.
    Wednesday, May 6, 2009 – 04:55 PM

  6. Anonymous

    I had a babysitter who once babysat for me about an hour so I could go to a meeting at church. I paid her $10 and when she got home she asked her mom if she could give it all to a fund at school that was set up to help a teacher’s family whose house had burnt down. Her mother said, “If that’s what you want to do, it’s your money.” She responded by saying, “But if I give it all, I won’t have the tithe left over.” Her mother assured her that giving it all was what God had in mind.
    Like your story about Jacob, this is what inspires me to examine my attitudes toward money and what is “mine.”
    Wednesday, May 6, 2009 – 05:46 PM

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