You might be wondering about the title of this blog, so I would like to start by defining the two key words: maniac and missionary.
A maniac can be defined as: a person exhibiting extreme symptoms of wild behavior, especially when violent and dangerous.
A missionary can be defined as: a person who crosses cultures to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
A person who is a maniac is very different from a person who is a missionary and today we are going to look at a story in the Bible that talks about a man who had this very experience of going from a maniac to a missionary.
Jesus had come to the other side of the sea, to the country of Gadarenes and immediately after He got off the boat a man with an unclean spirit was there to meet Him (Mark 5:1-2). This man could not be controlled by anyone. He was bound with shackles and chains, and he was constantly crying out and cutting himself with stones (Mark 5:4-5). He was being tormented by demons, who even themselves acknowledged Jesus as the Son of the Most High God (Mark 5:7).
What is interesting with this particular interaction of Jesus with someone who was demon possessed, was that Jesus actually had an extended conversation with the leader of the band of demons (Legion). Usually, Jesus would immediately cast out demons but we see some conversation here as they all beg Jesus to send them into the pigs (Mark 5:12).
Jesus goes on to give permission for the demons to enter into the pigs and they run violently down the steep place into the sea, and they drowned (Mark 5:13).
The man was now free, he was no longer bound, he was clothed, and in his right mind. After an encounter with Jesus, He went from being a maniac to a missionary (Mark 5:15).
Jesus instructed the man to go home and tell others the great things that the Lord had done for him (Mark 5:19) and as he began to proclaim all that Jesus had done, the people marveled at what they heard (Mark 5:20).
Let`s be encouraged by this story. God can take the worst situation and turn it into something that is so beautiful and meaningful. We can sometimes make excuses about why we don`t think God can use us for His purposes. Having this mentality can actually prevent us from becoming all that God has created us to be. It`s not about our qualifications or even our strengths. It`s about God working in and through us to accomplish His plans. He is God and only He can transform a person`s life radically.
As Christians, spreading the good news of Jesus Christ is something we are all called to do (Matthew 28:18-20). Are you called to be a missionary? You can read this previous blog series to help answer that question in your own life.
We also have some other great blogs to help you learn more about missions: Accessible Missions Education, Not Just an Ordinary Trip, Four Myths about Missions Strategy, and Missions Vision Near and Far.
God is passionate about missions and He has a heart for missions. Jesus Himself came to teach us one of the most important things: to spread the gospel. And we are all called to do that.
While you may not be able to go on a missions trip for one reason or another, there are other ways that you and I can help support missions. One very important way is to be praying for our missionaries. They need our constant prayer. Here is a guide to help you with some specific prayer points.
Have you been on a missions trip? Please share your experience with us below. We would love to hear all about it.