I was thinking about that. If I had been that man, I would have wanted to go with Jesus too. I would have wanted to travel by His side and tell others of the great things He had done in my life. Surely - that would have been a fantastic testimony to have around as Jesus spoke to different groups! And yet, Jesus tells him to go home and tell his own people - the ones who have known him forever - the ones who have seen him as this beastly man - that his life had changed.
I'll be honest - sometimes it is easier to go and tell than it is to stay and tell. I have never been a long term missionary - but I have been on a lot of short term mission trips and I loved sharing with others. I somehow felt bold and fearless in these new surroundings with this express purpose to the trip. I can hear Jesus' voice telling me that He loves that I want to do that - but that really, what He needs for me to do is to "go home to my people and tell them what great things the Lord has done in my life - how He has had mercy on me."
BUT LORD, those people - those people that I have been around and that really know me -- it is hard to share with them. It is hard to tell them that you have changed my life when they see me fail, make mistakes and act anything BUT like You. What if they won't listen? What if they are too busy or disinterested? What if they just think that I am really strange?
What if I just what if myself to death?
All of us have a story to tell. If you belong to Jesus - you have gone from death to life. This is your greatest story. The Lord has done great things - He has shown tremendous mercy. I want to have the same boldness and purpose here - in Chicago - in my every day life - that I would have out on the mission field.
It's true - people who know me know my shortcomings. I am anything but perfect. But - maybe that is truly good news because my life is proof that God can change anyone - that He can work through anyone and that no one is beyond His grace. Like this mad man among the tombs - Jesus has taken my life that was reeling out of control and transformed it. He took what lacked meaning and made it meaningful. He took my wandering and gave it purpose.
Where is home for you? Who are your people?
How has God shown mercy to you?
Will you tell your story?
I really believe that Jesus is waiting for each one of us to be His people right where we are - whether that is in your hometown or in a new city or even a new country. Your story of mercy is His story of hope to someone else.
Here's to mad men and Jesus transformed lives.