We as Christians can a lot from the man of Jonah in the Bible. Jonah was a prophet who was called by God to preach to the most sinful city at that time to tell them that God was going to destroy their city (Jonah 1:2). But Jonah heard of all the bad things there and was afraid and right away went down to the port and found a ship going the opposite direction, to Tarshish (Jonah 1:3). But God, being Omniscient (All-knowing) wasn’t done with Jonah, He sent a great storm right where the ship where Jonah was (Jonah 1:4). Now the sailors where extremely afraid and each one cried out to his god (Jonah1:5). Jonah, knowing this was God, told the sailors what he had done and told them to throw him into the sea (Jonah 1:9-15). And what happened, the water ceased from its raging, but God still wanted Jonah to preach to Nineveh, so God prepared a great fish to swallow him up (Jonah 1:17). Jonah finally realized what he had done and pray and asked for God’s forgiveness and to give him a second chance and God did and the fish vomited Him on dry land (Jonah 2:1-10). Finally Jonah went to Nineveh and preached to them and they believed and repented of their sinful ways and God forgave them (Jonah 3:1-10). But Jonah thought that God would still destroy them, so he sat down and waited for the destruction of the city (Jonah 4:1-6). Even then God was compassionate to Jonah as God grew a plant to shade Jonah (Jonah 4:6) but God, the next day, withered the plant (Jonah 4:7) and Jonah still waited for God to destroy the city because he didn’t think God would have mercy on them not knowing that God was merciful to everyone not just some people.
Now there are three things we can learn from this sad story:
1. When we are called, we go. Every person has a calling, it may be big or small, but one thing we as Christians have in common in callings is what Jesus said in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” We are called to preach the gospel everywhere and, as a pastor at my church once said, “decreasing the population of hell, to increase the population of heaven” This is our most important calling, but we cannot be as Jonah and run away.
2. If we run away or sin, we are to repent right away. If we run away from what God is calling us or even if we sin, we are to right away repent. As I said in my last post, David after sinning automatically repented and God forgave him. Even if we commit the biggest sin, if we whole-heartedly repent and am truly sorry, God will forgive us and make our hearts white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). Another example is the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32: this son took his inheritance from his father and headed out to the town and wasted his money, and ended feeding pigs. When he finally knew that he was wrong to leave his father in the first place, he came home and his father forgave him. When we repent and know we have ran away, our Father in heaven will forgive us.
3. When we do our calling, trust God. One quote I like to use a lot is, “Do your best and trust God for the rest” when we do our calling, we do it with all our heart and do it all for the glory of God for it is God who can change a heart, as 1 Corinthians 3:7 says, “So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but god who give the increase.” We may plant the seed in an unbelievers heart and someone might water it, but it is only God who can grow it and change it. May we not be like Jonah and know that God has mercy on everyone who calls on Him.
May we go when we are called,
Five Smooth Stones