Preaching Daily Devotional for Pastors and Church Leaders

<< Preaching Daily

Preaching Daily - January 21

Today's Devotional Insight...

Advent: The Manger Child and the God of the Dung Hill

In Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus returns home after twenty years of fighting the Trojan War and wandering the seven seas. During his absence, his palace has been taken over by men who are lined up to claim his wife's hand in marriage. They have spent years squandering Odysseus' goods, eating his food and crops, mistreating his servants. They have made a real mess of the palace.

One of the most moving chapters in the Odyssey involves Odysseus' return in disguise to check out their forces. He dresses as a beggar so no one will recognize him, but as he approached the palace gate his faithful dog, Argos, who has waited twenty years for his return, recognizes him.
Argos has been beaten and mistreated by the unwelcome guests. This once noble hunting dog with superb bloodlines has been thrown out the gate onto the dung hill, the manure pile.

When he recognizes Odysseus in his beggar's disguise, he is too weak to crawl to his master. But the faithful dog catches his master's eye, gives a last wag of his tail, and dies. Odysseus wipes away a secret tear.

The story of the master and his dog has always been one of my favorites. I'm always moved by that moment of faithfulness and recognition. But I also find my anger kindled by the way Argos is treated — kicked aside to live life on the dung hill.

I first read the story around age eight or nine. I had to look up dung hill in the dictionary. The first meaning is literally "a heap of manure." So the dung hill outside the gate is the animal manure which is piled up and waiting to be spread on the fields. That's where the unwelcome house guests have tossed Argos.

The second definition is a figurative one based on the first: "a repugnantly filthy or degraded place, abode, condition, or person." We might speak of the dung hills or dung piles of our world.

So Argos, the favored hunting dog of the master, Odysseus, was literally on a dung hill, a pile of manure. But he was also figuratively on the dung hill, forced to assume a repugnantly filthy or degraded position in the household.

(Read the full article here.)

Today’s Pastoral Resource...

Playback Media

Utilizing media in our services helps make a big impact on people's lives. Finding the right sermon slide, countdown, or motion background can be difficult sometimes. Playback Media exists to take that pressure away and provide you with church media that you can trust. They can also customize any media specifically for your church. Try them out free for one month.

More Preaching Daily Articles