The 13th Pig


My wife’s family raised pigs. One year their sow had a litter of 13 piglets. The sow could feed 12 simultaneously. So, not surprisingly, it was the smallest one, the runt, who was left out. Without intervention the 13th pig would starve and die. But my wife’s family did intervene, periodically the largest piglet would be pulled away from the mother so the 13th pig can feed.

Some feel that nature should take its course. But in this case that would be foolish. No intervention results in 12 healthy pigs. With intervention the 13th could survive. I see the story of Jesus at the pool of Bethesda as choosing intervention. The fastest could get to the pool first, but Jesus did not go to the fastest. He went to the one who was too slow.

I have noticed that the best fund-raisers are often the best at raising funds, not necessarily the best missions, and even more so not the most needy missions. The flow of support often goes to the wrong places. Laissez-faire fails sometimes…often. So how does one intervene wisely? Not totally sure— but having eyes on the ground who are able to make real decisions in the field can help. Decisions from a distance have the problem of being able to identify the noisiest and the flashiest— not necessarily the most deserving.

The Church can support more than the biggest and most aggressive. Supporting the runts does not mean weakening the rest. The 13th pig grew to be a healthy pig, but so did the other 12. Missions is not zero sum.

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