:: CHALLENGE POINT ::
We all have run away from God or His guidance. We all have run back to Him in times of need. We also remember the delight of running with God. But who hasn't run ahead of Him, trying to use our prayers to tell Him what is best for us? Our focus in this series will be to communicate Jonah to a contemporary congregation. Like us! There are aspects of the reluctant prophet in all of us and in the contemporary Church as a whole. The message of the book of Jonah is one that is urgently needed in the Church today. The book is more than just a whale of a story!
The central theme is God's nature of mercy for all humankind. The account of Jonah's dramatic attempt to escape from God's presence by boarding a ship bound for Tarshish, only to be thwarted by a raging storm and return to land after being incarcerated within a great fish, is possibly one of the best known stories in the Bible. The book of Jonah is one of those accounts of a person's encounter and struggle with God. We find that analyzing Jonah is a look into the mirror, and we may not like what we see. We struggle to love the unlovable. These would be the people you find it most difficult to love. These could be people who have become enemies because of what they do, say, or believe. We can run away by so filling our lives with activities that time for God is squeezed out and ministry to people and involvement in social benevolence has been set aside. Some of us are running off in all directions but are not under God's direction. When we become Christians, God begins a character transformation of our self-concern. God wants to refocus us to the central business of the Kingdom of heaven, to get us moving with Him and loving people and sharing our hope. God has targeted all of us who are believers for personal evangelism and mission to those whose lives are void of God.
Today I ask how many of us have had the occasion to flee from the call of God in our lives? It's not all that uncommon. And there is a reason why we receive the story of Jonah from the mouth of God. It is a sober warning to every believer to be diligent and obedience to the call of God. So when God calls you and puts His task upon you, consider His servant Jonah, and be wise. Don't wait until He throws you into the midst of the sea before you awaken to your responsibility.