Text: Jonah 3:1-4:11
To not be jealous of others
To be careful of complaining
For those who lead our community
IT MAY FOLLOW a certain kind of logic to quit doing the Lord’s work in your life because it seems the work is failing; but what does it mean to quit because you are succeeding beyond imagination? Jonah enters the city of Nineveh, preaching God’s message, and before he can really get going, his five-word prophecy has the whole city in an uproar and seeking God’s forgiveness.
On one level, the book of Jonah is about how God can work in the lives of those we think are opposed to God, but the story of Jonah is also a story of how God must work with us who think we are allied with God. It is easy to think that our view of the world is the correct one, and that God must be mistaken when he calls us to be among THAT people, or working THAT job, or staying in THAT marriage, or listening to THAT neighbor, or dealing with THAT situation. We are tempted in such moments to be disheartened and walk away, dismiss, even condemn others because we cannot see that God is just as concerned about us as he is the Ninevites in our lives, and that it is to our benefit—our salvation—that God calls us to certain places, tasks and goals. It is as Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:
Thus the very hour of disillusionment with my brother becomes incomparably beneficial, because it so thoroughly teaches me that neither of us can live by our own words and deeds, but only by that one Word and Deed which really binds us together—the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. When the morning mists of dreams vanish, then dawns the bright day of Christian fellowship… When a person becomes alienated from a Christian community in which he has been placed and begins to raise complaints about it, he had better examine himself first to see whether the trouble is not due to his wish-dream that should be shattered by God; and if this be the case, let him thank God for leading him into this predicament. But if not, let him nevertheless guard against ever becoming an accuser of the congregation before God...
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks