Jesus: Bad For Business
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“God’s activity among His people extorted a profound impact on the community at large. Taverns were closed for lack of business. The crime rate dropped so dramatically that the police had to find new uses for their time. People repaid delinquent debts and made restitution for thefts and other transgressions. There was even a work slowdown in the coal mines as the pit ponies reportedly could no longer understand the reformed language of the converted coal miners! Soon the world took notice of what God was doing in Wales. Before long, similar revival movements occurred worldwide. It all started when God drew 17 of His people back to Him. Once they returned to God in complete surrender, their community, then their nation, and ultimately the world felt the impact.” (pg. 15).
When God moves, it could be bad for business. When Jesus and His disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee and came to the region of the Gadarenes, they encountered, according to Matthew 8:28, two men who were demon-possessed. The situation was so bad that these men had been living in a graveyard and were so violent that no one could come near the place. But Jesus approached them and ordered the demons to leave their victims. The demons made an unusual request.
“Some distance from them a large herd of pigs were feeding. The demons begged Jesus, ‘If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs’” (vss. 30, 31). Jesus gave them permission. But just as in the case of the two men, the demons drove the pigs wild and they threw themselves off the cliffs into the lake and drowned.
We might think that the townsfolk would be happy to see two of their citizens restored to sanity, but that wasn’t the case: “Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region” (vs. 34).
Jesus was bad for business. And they preferred business to an encounter with God.
We might think this to be an extreme case, but to one extent or another we often deny ourselves an encounter with God because that encounter would interfere with “business.” Jesus might make demands on our time, talents and resources. He might ask us to give up something that is more important to us than He is. He might want all of us instead of just a small portion that we choose to give him on the occasional Sunday morning.
An encounter with Jesus is bad for business, but in the end all our “pigs” will die in some sea or other and the only thing of value left will be our relationship with the King of the universe and the God of Heaven. The choice seems pretty obvious.