Luke 15:11–16 reads,
And [Jesus] said, “A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that is coming to me.’ So he divided his assets between them. And after not many days, the younger son gathered everything and went on a journey to a distant country, and there he squandered his wealth by living wastefully. And after he had spent everything, there was a severe famine throughout that country, and he began to be in need. And he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to tend pigs. And he was longing to fill his stomach with the carob pods that the pigs were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.”
Imagine yourself going about your life, the life God has given you. You decide to leave your Father's house; you have a life plan of your own. You are excited. You have so much life to live, so much energy, so many resources to spend on anything you choose. You take a trip. You visit places you've never been, do things you've never done, and see things you've never seen. Maybe you get a little too excited or too absorbed in what you are doing. Before you know it, you're spent. You have nothing left. You have used up all your energy and all your resources. And, as luck would have it, now there is a widespread famine. Your environment is just as wasted and wanting as you are. So now what? Well, you do the only thing you can do. You join yourself to a citizen of this wasteland. This man sends you to do one of the dirtiest, smelliest jobs around: you become a swineherd.
Living in sin is like being far away from home, destitute in a famine. You have nothing to sustain yourself. And the places and people around you don't provide you with much either, except an offer to tend someone's pigs. And that's what you have to do in order to survive, right? Imagine your daily life, the things you see and smell and hear. Instead of seeing the faces of acquaintances, family, and friends, you see a herd of hungry pigs rummaging about for food. Instead of hearing the voices and laughter of others, you hear a herd of hungry pigs rummaging about for food. Instead of smelling savory food prepared for people, you smell a herd of hungry pigs rummaging about for food. And why can't you stop thinking about food?! Oh look, it's feeding time. Food is brought out for the pigs but none for you. You yearn for what the pigs eat as you watch them devour their food, as you hear their grunting and squealing and snorting and smacking. The food and dirt is caked onto their snouts as the flies swarm around. It makes you hungry. And you long to get down on all fours among the pigs and fill the emptiness inside you.
That is our state when we live in sin. Thank God that is not the end of the story….
The video below contains a slideshow of at least mildly charming pig pictures. However, the point of the video is not to show how cute pigs can be but to demonstrate how disturbing they sound. Listen attentively. Try to imagine yourself in the prodigal son's place: envious of and desiring to eat with pigs.