“At that the whole town went out to meet Jesus. When they saw Him they begged Him to leave their region.” (Matthew 8:34)
The story of the Gadarene demoniac is fascinating at several levels. In Matthew’s version of this story there are two violent, demon-possessed men living among the tombs, apparently one quite vocal and the other not so much. Jesus cast the demons out of them and allowed them to go into a nearby herd of pigs. The pigs then ran down a steep slope into the lake and drowned. The townspeople got the report of the incident and went out to meet Jesus. They saw the former demoniacs clothed and in their right mind. They saw the herd of pigs floating on the lake. Then, they begged Him to leave. Why?
The herd of pigs represented a significant source of income. The loss of an entire herd did a great deal of damage to the local economy as well as their food supply. From the townspeople’s viewpoint, for Jesus to remain there created an economic risk they did not want to face. So, they asked Him to leave.
From Jesus’ viewpoint, something more important than the economy was at stake. His priority was healing and restoring the lives of two men, liberating them from the torment of spiritual forces. He was more interested in the spiritual condition of people than He was in economics. Should that not say something to us?
This suggests that maybe our priority should also be the spiritual condition of people’s lives and hearts rather than on economics. In a time when the local and national economies are stressed, it’s easy to get caught up in that fear, but it is more important that our priorities match the Lord’s priorities. And His priority is people.
Lord, Help us daily to re-order our priorities according to Yours. Amen.