Hogs Running Amuck
By Audrey Stallsmith
The pigs got out on a recent Saturday. Big pigs. While cleaning their pen, the guys had moved them to another one which didn’t hold them for long. As the vegetable garden had just been planted, I was hovering on the front porch--watching to make sure that the swine didn’t make it across the road from the barn--when a Jehovah’s Witness drove up.
Fortunately the pigs were out of sight at the moment. However, our dog Sacagawea made a welcoming committee of her own, jumping in friendly fashion around the visitor’s legs. I dropped into a chair on the porch to keep a hold on Saccy and listen politely to the woman’s spiel, with occasional furtive glances toward the corn crib where the hogs had holed up.
I hoped they would stay put until the visitor left, as they tend to panic people who aren’t used to them. Sows usually aren’t aggressive, however, unless they’ve recently given birth, and the boar apparently had elected to remain in the barn.
When the visitor asked me whether I thought world events would get better or worse, I replied in a preoccupied way that the Bible said they would get worse. I hoped she would take the hint that I knew the scriptures and didn’t require evangelizing, but she read me a verse from Revelation anyway.
Despite the sogginess of the weather, I had hoped to get my potted plants moved out of the house for the summer that day, and I have a lot of potted plants. So I was waiting with ill-concealed impatience for the woman to finish--and my father and brother to return from excavating the manure spreader which had gotten stuck in a muddy field--so I could abandon pig patrol and get back to houseplant hauling.
Even though my impatient attitude was an irrational one, I suspect the visitor had seen it plenty of times before. I call it irrational because there is nothing, after all, more important than the soul. Although I don’t believe Jehovah’s Witness doctrine, the woman was talking about issues much more essential than the ones distracting me.
However, it is far too easy to get preoccupied by attention hogs, the unpredictable elements of our lives that we can’t regulate as well as the everyday tasks which demand attention as insistently as Saccy does. Therefore, the majority of people never seem to get around to addressing the monumental choices which we do control, and which make an eternal difference.
Even we Christians--who did at least take the trouble to make a decision once--can let ourselves get distracted by the mundane to the extent that we no longer have time for anything else. We may not be like the scriptural hogs who don’t recognize the value of pearls, but we still spend most of our time in pursuit of corn instead. That’s why it’s so important that we schedule the important.
Many people seem to think that having a set time for prayer and Bible reading trivializes the sacred. They apparently believe such things should blow in--in a much more spiritual way--on a burst of wind and flame.
If we don’t make time for God, however, we will lose touch with Him, much as we lose touch with the relatives and old friends with whom we no longer communicate. And, if we stumble through those “devotions” in an absent-minded sort of way in our hurry to get back to the important stuff? We may, indeed, resemble those scriptural hogs who don’t recognize the valuable when they see it.