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Read Introduction to Jonah


“Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.”


and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load.

The sailors sought to lighten the ship by tossing cargo overboard.  The shipowner would take a dim view of them sailing into port with no cargo on board!  But what good was their cargo if they were going to lose their lives?  What did they care about the ship’s owner at that point? 

Values differ in death.  Gold, money, and luxury mean little to you if you are about to lose your life.  The mariners did what they could.  They lightened the load of the ship, but the load was still there – Jonah.  There is nothing so heavy as sin.

Ps 38:4, “For my iniquities have gone over my head;

Like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.”

Mt 11:28-30, 28Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”


Values differ in death.


Our estimates and evaluations about life change dramatically in our dying hour or in a time of desperation.  It is at that time, albeit too late to make a life-long difference that we often take note of the things of greatest value.  In one of Paul’s great prayers, he prays that we might have the discernment to put a priority on the things of greatest value. 

Php 1:9-11, 9 “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

The word “approve” means test for approval.  The word “excellent” indicates a sense of value, of what is important, of what is vital.  We need to have the discernment to separate what is important from what is not important.  We should be able to test for approval the things that are the most valuable in life. 

None of us operates in life without some scale of values.  The question is not whether we have a scale of values; the question is more which scale of values we choose.  Do we choose God’s highest values or some arbitrary set of temporal values?

Where there is no scale of values, utter confusion follows.  If we want to live a flustered life, then we live life without an adequate set of ultimate values.  In this situation, nothing is of value, nothing of importance.  To live life with everything of equal importance is to live life at a trivial level.  Lesser things are as important as greater things.

If we chose as our ultimate value to make and save as much money as possible, then we have chosen a lesser value in God’s economy.  If we chose to put God’s glory first, no matter how much money we make, then we live by God’s scale of values.  It is a matter of what comes first.  If our main objective is to make money, then we are number one in our values, and God is number two.  We need to decide what is important.

Do we have God’s scale of values?  What is the highest item on our scale of values?  What is first or most important to us?  A good way to measure these questions is to consider our use of time.  Answering these things will reveal what is important in our lives.  Then we will have a sense of what is vital.