Following the Call

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Reading
Numbers 9-11; Mark 5:1-20


18 While he was climbing into the boat, the one who had been demon-possessed pleaded with Jesus to let him come along as one of his disciples. 19 But Jesus wouldn’t allow it. “Go home to your own people,” Jesus said, “and tell them what the Lord has done for you and how he has shown you mercy.” 20 The man went away and began to proclaim in the Ten Cities all that Jesus had done for him, and everyone was amazed (Mark 5:18-20, Common English Bible).

Martin Luther was one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s. Earlier, before leading the Reformation, Luther was a college student, following his father’s wishes to become a lawyer.

Luther was traveling by horseback, back to school from his family home. During the journey, Luther encountered a fierce storm. It was a storm so fierce, it scared Luther to his core. He was so frightened he made the kind of promise to God many make under similar circumstances. Luther prayed to God, “If you get me out of this storm alive, I will become a priest.” When Luther did indeed survive, he took it as a sign that God wanted him to become a priest. Much to his father’s dismay, Luther dropped out of law school to enter seminary. The rest, as they say is history.

In today’s lesson, Jesus has evicted a bunch of evil spirits from a “possessed” man and sends them to the pigs and they run off a cliff. When the man, now freed of the evil spirits that controlled his life (some argue the spirits in the man was actually a form of mental illness.

The man is so relieved, when Jesus leaves the crowds and get into a boat, the man wants to become one of his disciples (who can blame him for wanting the ongoing contact with Jesus?. Jesus then says no.  The man would have to serve in another way.

It could make us wonder why Jesus would say no to this man. I think it wasn’t so much that Jesus didn’t want the man to be a disciple, he didn’t want the man to be one of the twelve. Jesus needed him to be a disciple where he was. Think about it. Everyone knew what this man was like. Now Jesus healed him and that changed everything. Jesus needed this man to stay and share how Jesus changed his life with as many people as possible.

This man had a very real story to tell and its greatest impact wouldn’t come from this guy traveling around as one of the twelve. People needed to hear his story and how it pointed back to Jesus.

I feel certain the man was disappointed. I am sure he thought Jesus was making a mistake. I don’t think it would be very long before this man realized what Jesus did and its impact on his hometown.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved



Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

One thought on “Following the Call

  1. Great post, thanks for sharing!

    I really like this story, how great it would be to know what happened next with this guy. The theory about mental illness, I am wondering if he got it from being ill treated?

    Would of been awesome to see the reactions of the people that knew him when he wasn’t in his right mind.

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