Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | February 19, 2010

Run with God

Reflections on Jonah 1:11-16

Jonah probably did not realize the events that his disobedience would set in motion. As the sea grew increasingly more turbulent, the terrified sailors asked Jonah what they should do “to make the sea calm down” (Jonah 1:11). The sailors wanted Jonah to instruct them about the correct ways to appease his deity. They did not want to do anything to make matters worse. Jonah told the sailors to throw him into the sea (Jonah 1:12). However, the sailors tried unsuccessfully “to row back to land” (Jonah 1:13). Ironically, the heathen sailors made a greater effort to help Jonah than Jonah had made to help the heathen.

The sailors were reluctant to throw Jonah into the sea. As a last resort, they asked God to not consider their action as willful murder (Jonah 1:14) and “threw” Jonah “overboard” (Jonah 1:15). Immediately the “raging sea grew calm” (Jonah 1:15), showing the sailors that “the Lord, the God of heaven” (Jonah 1:9) really had control of the sea. This dramatic display of power led the sailors to offer a “sacrifice to the Lord” and make “vows to Him” (Jonah 1:16).

Jonah, to his credit, was willing to take responsibility for his failure to respond obediently to God’s call. We too, must take responsibility for any lack of involvement in missions and for failing to live incarnationally — to be Jesus with skin on. Our failure to respond obediently to God’s call has eternal consequences. Ask a career missionary to envision what his absence from the field would mean to the people he serves. Ask a short-term volunteer to tell you what her unwillingness to go might have meant to the people she touched with the gospel. Ask the people who pray to tell you of how doors opened by prayer might have remained closed had they not remained on their knees. Ask the people who give to tell you of needs and resources that would have remained unmet had they withheld their gifts. Ask the volunteers who teach children and students about missions to tell you of those who might not have responded to God’s call to serve had they evaded their responsibility to teach.

We must realize that we owe Christ to all people (see Rom. 1:14) — from our own homes to the ends of the earth. We did not receive the gospel for our sole possession. The gospel concerns every one of the 5.6 billion people on our planet. Therefore, we must pass it on to those who have never heard it (Mark 16:15). Those of us who live in the comfort and security of the center must take God’s message to the millions of unreached people living on the edge. The greatest crime we can commit against unreached peoples is to withhold the gospel from them. We must not run away from our responsibility to share the gospel. Instead, we must run with God on mission. So, if you have a ticket to Tarshish — tear it up! Don’t run from God. Instead run with God and live adventurously for Him.

Don’t Shut Your Eyes | Ask God to help you see beyond the comfort of your home and the walls of your church. Learn about an unreached people group in need of the gospel.

Don’t Close Your Mind | Ask God to speak to you about how you can fulfill your responsibility to share the gospel with all peoples. Be open to praying, giving, and going beyond.

Don’t Cover Your Ears | Ask God to help you hear the cries of those in need of help (Acts 16:9). Listen carefully to reports on the news about the plight of people in your own community and in other parts of the world.

Don’t Turn Your Back | Ask God to help you respond to the needs of others in practical ways. Set aside a day for fasting and give the money you save on that meal to help others and to support those who take the gospel to difficult places.

Don’t Harden Your Heart | Ask God to soften your heart to love Him and to love those still waiting to hear the gospel.

Don’t Run Away | Ask God to help you consider how you can take part in local missions initiatives, serve as a short-term volunteer on a mission trip, or perhaps pursue a career in missions.


Responses

  1. Running, Omar, running!

  2. Omar-

    Thanks so much for the encouraging to reading the book of Jonah and encouraging to doing more evangelisms! I will go to more remote villages to share them Jesus.

    Mortuza
    Bangladesh


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