But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”
But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”
But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” Jonah 4:1-12(NIV)
This is an illustration of the modern Christian. God tells Christians “to go into the world and make disciples.” Man says “It would be better if the people would just come to us, then we can make them disciples.”
- Man builds a shelter (church) so they can watch people come to know the Lord.
- God provides a vine to protect the church.
- The church grows the church into a big plant.
- God sends a worm to destroy the plant. (The finance company forecloses because the church cannot meet the mortgage payment)
- Man becomes angry with God because He closed their church.
Do we have the right to be angry when church does not go our way? Or when the music is not to our liking? Or the preacher talks about sin in the sermon? Are we like Jonah?
We have become so concerned ourselves and our church operation that we tend to ignore the thousands of people who do not know the love of God; people who feel so hopeless; or people living in fear of the future. That was Jonah’s problem. He was so concerned about himself and his personal comfort that he did not want God to spare the city of Nineveh. Jonah did not want to share God’s love.
What are your concerns? Are you more concerned about your own desires that you are about those lost in sin and despair? Are you more concerned about your church or your country than you are about the spiritual condition of the people living around you? Show someone today that God loves them.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20(NIV)
NOTE: All scripture used in this blog was downloaded from www.biblegateway.com