“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 family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you.’” Mark 5:18
One of my favorite things in the world is eating out at a restaurant. I do like to cook, but the experience of sitting down with your people, ordering what you want and it being brought to your table like magic is my favorite. When I was a kid, we always ate out on Friday nights. We would go to Rax for a roast beef sandwich and salad bar, and then shopping at Hills Department Store. My own family has our own days where we usually will go somewhere for dinner, but Sundays are always iffy. One of us will usually ask on the way home from church, What’s for dinner? Then it’s the usual, “Whatever you want is fine,” and so on, until someone finally makes a suggestion.
Almost always I will say, “Are we talking restaurant, or something at home?” And my mood can completely change. I don’t know what is, but when the option of going somewhere fancy is dangling there, and the choice is to go home, it is a complete mood changer for me.
In Mark 5, there was a guy who didn’t want to go home either. The chapter starts with the Jesus and the disciple on a boat.
Jesus had just silenced the storms on the lake, and he and the disciples were traveling to land when a “madman” ran straight for Jesus, dropped to his knees in front of Him and was screaming to Jesus. Jesus told the evil spirits to get out of him, and the spirits pleaded not to be tortured. They asked Jesus to let them go in a huge group of pigs that were nearby, minding their own business. Jesus okayed that and the spirits jumped into the pigs and the pigs jumped off a steep bank into the lake and drowned. For some reason, this freaked the village out and they asked Jesus to leave town.
But back to this guy – the demons left, and here he is, now with clothes on and completely sane. This is when Scripture said people became afraid.
This is a guy who at the beginning of the chapter was untamable. He ripped through chains that tied him down. No one was strong enough to control him. He spent his days screaming and cutting himself in the graveyard.
Now here he is, completely fine in normal everyday clothes, having normal conversations.
This guy’s life had been completely changed, and he wanted to be near the One who made it happen. He begged to go with Jesus. But Jesus said No. The guy could have been insulted, feeling like Jesus didn’t want him around, but the truth was that home was a bigger mission. He could have followed Jesus around and watched Him doing all the miracles, or he could be back with his people and sharing what happened with anyone who would listen, spreading the name of Jesus even farther. Jesus knew the better option.
The guy did what Jesus said. He went home to his town and told his story. He told what Jesus did for him. All around his town, people were hearing about Jesus and the difference He had made in this guy’s life. He was spreading the gospel with his own story, and “All the people were amazed.” (v.20)
The demons begged Jesus to let them leave, and this guy begged Jesus to let him stay. But Jesus knew best. This guy’s story would make a difference, and not just to his family and friends, but to his entire town.
Jill Briscoe is, among other things, a wonderful speaker. If you have never heard her, you need to. Anyway, in a sermon she was giving, one thing she said made such an impact on me.
“You go where you’re sent, and you stay where you’re put, and you give what you’ve got.”
The perfect formula for obedience.
Our guy in Scripture did this very thing. He went home where Jesus sent him, he stayed in his town, and he told his story, just like Jesus told him to do. This resulted in an entire town amazed at what Jesus had done.
If you ever feel like your calling isn’t big enough, I hope you can remember this. I’m sure being one of Jesus’ followers would have seemed like a big deal, and just going back home was completely ordinary. But his ordinary calling is what made the most difference. Even the things that seem simple or ordinary can be made into something extraordinary in the hands of Jesus.
Your story might not seem big enough, but trust me, it is. Someone is needing to hear it.