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By Rev. Dr. Teresa Allissa Citro

Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” -Mathew 7:6

My kids love animals. I, on the other hand, love animals from a distance. When Justin was 7 years old, he asked my dad for a pony. One day I received a call from my Mom, “Bring the kids over, your Dad wants to tell them something.”

Justin was all excited. Ellianna was just a year old. When I pulled into the driveway, my parents were waiting for us outside. Justin went running out as soon as I unbuckled him. “Hurry up mommy.” I saw my dad take Justin by the hand, and they started walking down to “The Barn.” I was thinking baby chicks or bunnies. While I was unbuckling Ellianna from her car seat, "Ellianna, Nonno has baby chicks or bunnies. You want to see those baby animals?"

When I got there, my mouth dropped. I saw a cow, a few sheep, a few goats, baby chicks, ducks, bunnies, a dozen or so chickens, a rooster, and a baby pig! My dad was all proud. “Justin, Ellianna, for you. Surprise!”

I said, “Oh my God, we have our own petting zoo!”

Today, I want to share about Wilbur, our pig. Yes, people, we had a pig. Our animals were not like other animals, you understand. After all, we all know how neurotic I am about cleanness. Wilbur had a clean pen. He was fenced in and with no mud. And, before going into his little house, he was hosed down. The cleanest pig there was. Kids loved their animals. Ellianna grew up with them. No wonder she wants to be a veterinarian. I blame my dad for this and his love for animals, too.

Wilbur was a strong-willed pig. He didn’t like cleanness. Every chance he got, he rolled in the mud. Yuck! Gross! My kids, “Wilbert, behave. Mommy will get upset. You want to live here right? Don’t do that. Stay clean!” I can’t help but laugh as I write this. Little kids are amusing. Then they get older and become annoying. Do I get an amen out there?

Wilbur lived with us for a good five years. "Good morning, Wilbur," we would say. “Oink, oink, oink,” Would be the response. You would have thought our animals were people. Every month the doctor would come and check on all the animals. They got pedicures(hoofs) whatever you call them. The sheep were groomed by having their wool shaved. Food arrived on pallets, and they were living the life.

Wilbur just didn’t behave. He didn’t like his home. Every chance he got, he just had to get himself dirty. One day, he cleverly dug himself out of his pigpen. He escaped without us knowing. My sister-in-law was at work. Her colleague was late coming in.

When she finally arrived the person told her, “Oh what a commotion on my way to work. Route 20 is completely shut down. There’s a pig running down the street, and the police are trying to catch it.” My dad gets a call from my sister-in-law. “Dad, where is Wilbur? I think it got out, and the police are trying to catch it.” Next thing I know I see a policeman carrying the pig to our house. They figured it was ours. “Wilbur got out.” Thank God, they were laughing, A picture I will never forget. That policeman walking up the driveway carrying our pig in his arms. Our clean pig, that is.

This Bible verse spoke to me today. It didn’t matter that Wilbur lived in one of the best towns in all of the United States of America. Nor did he care that he had a beautiful pigpen, organic food, a private doctor, and a groomer. People who feed him, cared for him, took care of him, and paid lots of attention to him.

You see, at the end of the day, Wilbur was a pig. Therefore, he acted like one. Jesus here is saying just that. Pigs like to roll in the mud. They take pleasure in living in disgusting conditions. The dirtier and muddier the better. They don’t care about the beautiful ornaments my kids made for them to wear. They don’t care if it breaks, is destroyed, or gets dirty. They can’t appreciate it. Unlike, our cat that keeps her collar around her neck clean.

Jesus knows it very well. He says “Don’t give pearls to swine. They will trample on them.” Pearls, are elegant, beautiful, and worn with pride. Pigs could care less. They don’t appreciate the beauty and the elegance of it. You see, the warning is beyond just us paying attention and trying to help people. We have to be led of the Spirit of God to bring us to those who actually have a desire to come out of bad situations and change their wicked and evil ways. Not everyone accepts our advice, nor do they accept the Word of God.

What really jumps at me is the last statement of Jesus, "and turn and tear you in pieces.” I never saw this before. Jesus was saying that dogs (in those days) and pigs were unclean animals as the Mosaic Law teaches. Both animals were scavengers. Jesus was talking about holiness. God’s truth is holy. We need to reverence the holiness of His Word. When we bring God’s Word, we are bringing people His truth. It’s not ours but His. People sometimes reject that which God says. Jesus knew that this happened and happens still. We are then told to not present His truth to those who then not only reject it but also come after us. The accusations begin. They reject the truth.

Jesus is giving a symbolic picture of the dogs and pigs tearing their prey into pieces, meaning the negative response from people who mock the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They trample it by mocking it. They tear apart the very message itself.

This does not apply to those who mock God’s Word only. It applies to those whom God has sent to deliver words, too. Last night, I prayed a prayer that brought this all about. God had me deliver a word to someone. I didn’t want to do it. I begged God to use someone else. God asked me a question. “Are you going to do that which I asked you to do?” So, I did. Let’s just say, I got devoured.

Last night, I said, “God, You know I love You, and I serve You. I will do whatever you ask of me. But find someone else. I will never deliver a word to that person again.” No response from God, until I went to pray before going to bed. Then God decided to answer back. “Remember your pig, Wilbur?” It’s been almost 10 years since Wilbur. I didn’t have to ask God what He meant because He asked me a question and then proceeded to give me the answer. He added, “Read it again, and write about it tomorrow.”

God will not be mocked. Nor will He allow His prophets to be mocked. When we deliver a word and it’s rejected, it’s not you or I that they reject. We are just a messenger. God uses the messenger to warn the person. It’s God's mercy and love. When it’s rejected, it’s God’s word that they have disrespect for. They are rejecting God. He allows the rejection and the consequences to follow.

Wilbur wasn’t going to give up. Even the electric fence didn’t help. He figured out a way to dig a hole and escape to the other side. You could say, “What a little pig.” He was clueless about the blessings that he had living in our home. Eventually, it cost him his life.

Friends, be humble, and treat God’s servants, His prophets, with honor and respect. Not because they are better or deserve it. We are humans, nobody bows before man. Rather, respect God and honor Him. Don’t play with God’s Word. It’s a matter of life and death. Remember King Saul? He was chosen by God and yet he rejected His word. Samuel mourned him to the point that God said, “How long will you mourn Saul? I have rejected him. I’m going to replace him with someone that will honor me.”

Friends, accept His Word!


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