Well, lucky you! Have we got a story to share with you today!
Right now, we are going to visit a famous story in the Holy Bible – Jonah – but look at a part of the story that is so easy to pass over, the implications of which are important for all of us. Don’t worry though, most of it should ease your mind – except getting thrown off a ship in the middle of a storm 😉 .
Inside of the first chapter of the book of Jonah, we see that the Lord spoke to Jonah and told him to travel to Nineveh to warn the city about their impending destruction. Jonah, however, chooses to ignore what God told him to do, and travels by ship in the opposite direction towards Tarshish. Jonah has chosen not only to not do what God told him to, but actually try and run away from it.
Keeping this in mind, think about your own life and how many times God may have put on your heart to do something small like pray for a few moments, or give a couple of bucks to a homeless person, or whatever it might be – although much smaller on the severity scale than Jonah warning a city full of people of their impending destruction, you are still not doing what God asked. (Praise the Lord however, for his all enduring mercy and forgiveness.)
Imagine then, Jonah has chosen to runaway by ship (remembering that the story clearly states that he told the shipmen why he was coming on the ship), and God’s anger is kindled, which starts the storm that threatens the ship.
I want to highlight what the sailors do when the going get tough – they prayed each to their own god. When that didn’t work, the crew members tried to determine which person onboard had brought about this calamity. Jonah, ultimately knew that it was him and that the one true God was angry at him. At this point, Jonah asks to be thrown off the ship probably for 2 reasons: thinking he would die, thus, eliminating him from fulfilling his responsibility and second, to spare the lives of the innocent men on board. Once thrown overboard, the storm that was threatening the boat has calmed.
Now it is time to come full circle and see the true majesty of God’s glory. The sailors knew of Jonah’s journey and why he came to the boat, they now understood that God had ultimate power because he displayed His power by bringing the storm and ending the storm, and praying to their own gods did not work. So what happened?
Jon 1:15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. Jon 1:16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.Jonah 1: 15-16
God took a situation where somebody was trying to completely dodge responsibility, and turned it into a moment to show his glory and have men turn away from their own gods, and make vows to the true living God with a sacrifice. WOW!
If God can make this situation work, should we really be so worried about failing at our tasks for God? Let us not worry about it. The most important thing for us is to make a conscious effort to do what God asks. Even if we don’t do it perfectly or feel like we failed, we moved the dial towards preaching the Gospel. If you do that, you have done better than Jonah did who ran away at first. If we believe in God, than surely we must believe that He will make our honest efforts profitable for Him. Let us make an honest effort, even in the smallest tasks, without regard for doing it wrong or doing it well. Just move the dial towards God.