There is this amazing account in Mark where Jesus restores a demon possessed man. The man is possessed by such a quantity of demons that when Jesus’ asks for his name the response is “legion, for we are many.” Jesus miraculously throws all the demons out of the man, sending them into a herd of pigs (who proceed to fall of a cliff). It’s a powerful account of the power, love, and mercy of Jesus. It’s also important that we see how the story ends. Jesus performs this amazing miracle, completely changing a man’s life. As he packs up to leave for the next town the following happens:
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. Mark 5:18-20
The recently healed man is on-fire for Jesus, as his life has been completely changed. He is ready to follow him anywhere. Yet, Jesus doesn’t let him into the boat. Instead, he tells him to return to HIS village and share with HIS people there what has happened to HIM. I would venture a guess that he felt a little deflated, as surely “seeing the world” with this amazing healer would have seemed far more exciting then simply returning home.
I see a similar phenomenon in many of us. We can get really excited to go on a short-term mission trip, seeing a different land, making an impact there, and spending time in close Christian fellowship. We can also get excited about plugging into the activities of our church, leading a Bible study, helping on a work day, being on a praise team, etc. All of these are certainly good things. My question for us today is: what are we doing outside of those things? When we’re not on a mission trip, in church, or serving on a ministry team, what are we doing? Put simply, are we serving the community we live in on our own? Are we doing what Jesus commanded of the formerly demon-possessed man, that he return to his life and share “how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you”? See, God doesn’t just need us in the mission field or serving in church ministries. He needs us shining a light for him every day in every way. He needs us sharing with friends and neighbors. He needs us setting an example in restaurants, in hardware stores, and sporting events. He needs us being salt and light in the streets, in the stores, in the schools, and in the homes of our community. And when we do that, when we share how much Jesus has done for us, let us pray that all the people will be amazed.