Wednesday, 11 March 2009
'Jonah the prophet who ran away' by Brother Andrew of Open Doors
"But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord" (Jonah 1:3).
It is easier to identify with Jonah than with any other prophet. Others are so holy. Jonah is so much like us.
God says: Go ye!
Jonah says: No!
Jonah's basic problem: he had too much love for himself. He thought: "God will make a fool of me. I'll lose face."
He refused to be a fool for Christ.
He wanted God, but not God's kingdom. He wanted blessing without responsibility.
He was not making people ripe for hell. He just let them go to hell. He had no compassion for the lost.
What he did have was money. So rather than going east to Iraq, he headed west and bought a ticket on a Mediterranean cruise. He figured it was his money and he could spend it any way he chose. He didn't stop to think that he was spending God's money. Jonah pays with God's money to escape from God's call.
There is a burden on us. It's called the Great Commission. "Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19a). I believe God has called enough people in each generation to fulfill the Great Commission in their lifetime. But too many have run away.
Where is our compassion? God is not willing that ANY should perish! That applies to Nineveh and Amsterdam and New York. WE are responsible for the Ninevehs of this world.
Why do we not weep for Muslims? Yes, why don't we weep for fundamentalists? Is it because we'd rather be entertained?
A man must be either entertained or challenged. It costs all your money to be entertained: television, radio, literature, cruises, time share condominiums, sport, travel (that includes the Holy Land), luxuries, food, eating out... (plus all at the expense of "family life.") And then, we've LOST all, everything.
We put so much on credit that there's nothing left for God's work. We borrow for "things." Do we ever borrow for missions? We cannot give what we do not have, and "to have" is unscriptural - the verb "to have" is not in the Hebrew language. However "to be" is; it is even God's name.
It costs nothing to be challenged - only your life.
All that we have is entrusted to us.
And one day we must give an account (Romans 14:12).
Jonah ran because he saw opportunities as an enemy instead of the enemy as his biggest opportunity.