March 2, 2011
Although the "parable of the little pig" cannot be found in the Bible, Mike Breen used the story to convey the theme of a relationship with God to OBU students.
Breen spoke during a weekly chapel service on Wednesday, March 2. A speaker on the topics of mission, leadership, discipleship and theology, Breen leads 3DM, the global home for an organic movement of biblical discipleship and missional church that is centered in the United States. He previously served as senior rector at St. Thomas Sheffield in England.
Breen's message continued OBU's annual chapel theme, "Unadorned: A Return to the Simplicity of the Gospel" based on the book "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. He spoke on the themes of relationship with God and responsibility to the Kingdom of God.
Breen said every person who bears the name "Christian" participates in the identity of Jesus Christ. He read the Scripture found in Matthew 3:13-17, in which Jesus went to the Jordan River to be baptized. After Jesus was baptized, the Bible says God's voice proclaimed: "This is my beloved Son. I am well pleased." Simply put, Breen said, God said, "I love him, and I'm proud of him."
"The wonder of the Gospel is this: This very morning, in your hearts, if you'll attend to the voice, the Father says the same thing to you," Breen said. "Our Father in heaven says this to you: ‘You're my child. I love you. And I'm proud of you.'"
Breen said while people may not see any reason God would be proud of them, God gathers his children and sees them through the identity of Jesus Christ. He used a parable to teach about God's love.
In the parable of the pig, Breen told about a little pig that loved being a pig. He wallowed in the mud, ate slop and lived in a pig sty. He thought he had the best life.
One day, the little pig saw a shepherd walking across the farmyard, followed by his sheep. In his little piggly heart, Breen said the little pig began wanting to be a sheep. With each passing day, the little pig wanted to be a sheep more and more.
One morning, the shepherd went to the pig sty and said, "Hello, little pig." The pig replied, "Oink," which Breen translated as "Good morning, shepherd." The shepherd asked, "Would you like to be a sheep?" The pig replied, "Yes, please."
The shepherd explained the pig could become a sheep only if the shepherd gave him an operation to replace his little piggly heart with a little sheep heart. Over time, the pig would notice that his little curly tail was straightening, he would begin growing wool and his "oink" would turn into a "baa." The little pig agreed to the operation. Just as the shepherd said, the pig soon began turning into a sheep. Day after day, he followed the shepherd to the pasture and ate grass and grew wool.
But one day, as the sheep returned to the farmyard, other pigs called to the pig-turned-sheep. They enticed him to come to a party in the pig sty. The thought stuck with the little pig-turned-sheep, and he eventually accepted the invitation. In the dark of night, he slipped into the pig sty for the party. He wallowed in the mud and ate the slop.
The next morning, the little pig-turned-sheep was ashamed of his wool matted with pig sty mud and his pig-slop breath. He thought he could never return to the shepherd. But the shepherd came to the little pig-turned-sheep, and he said, "Little sheep, we need to give you a bath." Without another word, the shepherd took the little sheep to the pasture and bathed him. The little sheep never wandered back to the pig sty alone, because he was grateful for what the shepherd had done for him.
In the parable, the little pig-turned-sheep represents a person who chooses to give up a former life to follow Jesus Christ, and the shepherd represents God's love through Jesus. Breen encouraged the students to be free from the isolation and guilt of past sins, and to embrace the identity of Christ.
"The transformation that happens in your heart when you accept Christ is one God is committed to," Breen said. "Even when we fail, God does not fail us."