I've been thinking about this all week, and each time I've tried to force Noah or Timothy into my personal journey, well it just didn't work. I would love to say Moses or even Job...but all signs point back to Jonah.
As if I needed reinforcement to tell me this, I came home last night to the toddler watching the Veggie Tales version of the story which she hadn't done in quite some time. Now, I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer...but like Jonah, I do eventually get it...sometimes with help.
Too often, the story of Jonah is relinquished to teaching children, and I think that's a big mistake by even the most mature Christians. Jonah was given an amazing gift by God and was expected to use that gift in His service. After God gave Jonah specific instructions (Jonah 1:2) to head to Ninevah (the heart of the dreaded Assyrians), the prophet decided a Spanish cruise was more to his liking. Bad mistake...and Jonah pays for his disobedience.
Unfortunately, there is the close parallel in my life. God has richly blessed me throughout my time in this world. Right after accepting the wonderful gift from Him of salvation, I used many of my gifts in His service. At some point, I decided to take my own Spanish cruise and go my own way instead of remaining obedient to God. Bad mistake...and I paid for it too.
Again like Jonah, it actually took several detours for me to realize my life was bought and paid for by the sacrifice of Christ. Sure, I could chose to continue on a path of disobedience, but nothing good could ever come from that path. Only God could fill the holes I had dug into my life, and only He could give back the joy that comes from an obedient relationship with Him.
There are a couple of important lessons in the story of Jonah. Many Christians are afraid to talk about their faith. We don’t want to look foolish or be unpopular. We’re afraid of standing out and being different. There could have been no city less likely to repent than Nineveh, but when Jonah was finally willing to do as he was told, they did repent! Nineveh was so huge that it took three days to cross it. Imagine all the lives spared by one willing voice. Think of all that would have perished if that voice had not been there.
Now think about how big the World Wide Web is today. So many are not saved or have never been told the Good News simply because Christians have been too fearful to tell it. We have no way of knowing what someone will decide about Christ, we only have the obligation to tell people about Him. Miracles can happen in people’s lives when we share the Word of God with them. By withholding the Word, we are failing in our responsibility.
Like I said earlier, I may not be the sharpest knife...but I have filleted a few crappie in my day. I like that side of the fish so much better too.