Learning About Ourselves From the Lowly Pig

Keith KettenringChristian Living, The Uncommon Journey

Bacon comes to mind when I think of pigs. Or, a delicious pork shoulder smoked to perfection and shredded with sweet and slightly tangy BBQ sauce slathered on top. Or, a beautifully-presented pork crown roast hot out of the oven. 

Maybe I’m hankerin’ for pork because I’ve recently come off the Lenten fast having had no meat for two months. I doubt it. For some reason, I enjoy eating “the other white meat” (actually it’s considered a red meat) often. There are parts of the pig that back-woods Southern country boys eat that I wouldn’t touch. Let’s not go there. I’ll stick with bacon, ham, sausage, ribs, shoulder, tenderloin, and chops.

Have you ever tasted a grilled Iowa chop? Zowie!! Thick. Juicy. Flavorful. When grilled right it almost rivals a rib-eye steak. No kidding!!

Ok. When I see a pig I think about eating them. I’ve got issues!

Apparently, when Winston Churchill sees a pig, he thinks of humanity.

Recently this quote from Winston Churchill got my attention. It is an honest evaluation of who we are and where we live.

   I wonder what Churchill is getting at?

Is he saying: “There’s a lot of “piggery” in humanity – that there are similarities between pigs and humans? Maybe, that’s how pigs view it.

Maybe pigs have insight to which we are blinded by our egoism. We think too highly of ourselves. The pig does not. Churchill is saying that we need to see ourselves as a pig does and stop living high off the hog and honestly reflect on how much of our life is lived in mud and muck.

This gets me thinking about what Paul wrote in Philippians 3.8: Everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord. For His sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage [“dung,” KJV), so that I may gain Christ. 

Paul is not saying it’s just Jesus and me; I don’t need anything else. He is explaining that to know Christ – experience Him fully, actually live life in Christ – he has rejected the worthless things of life for the purpose of acquiring or winning Jesus Christ.

Anything that keeps him from knowing Christ he calls garbage or dung. This is the word for refuse. “It refers to such things as a half-eaten corpse; filth, like lumps of manure or human excrement; the portion of food rejected by the body as unnourishing; or to the scraps or leavings of a feast, the food thrown away from the table.” (The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament, Rogers and Rogers, p. 455)

An intimate, personal experience of Christ in real life means seeing as garbage everything that isn’t helping you know Christ. The list of things in your life that are not helping you experience Christ could take volumes. You live in a secular age that is not a friend to God.

To know Christ is to recognize the manure we’re living in and experience Christ in it…like a pig.

The Christian life is not an escape from the muck but a discovery of Christ in the muck; a discovery that transforms everything, even the crap that is all around.

Think about this the next time you bite into a crisp slice of bacon. You are more like the pig than you realize. Let that thought turn your heart to experience Christ.