“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying…”
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying,
While Jonah sat on the shore, stunned by his experience, the Lord gave him a second challenge.
Mt 21:28-31, 28 “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ 29 “He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. 30 “Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. 31 “Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.”Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.”
God gave Jonah another commission. This is nothing more than sheer, unadulterated grace. Jonah did not deserve the right to preach to the Ninevites. He did not deserve the right to be the greatest evangelist of the Old Testament. God gave Jonah the same trust before he went AWOL.
God is open to use us anytime we chose to utilize His grace.
God has a tough time getting the attention of some of us. He has to push, pull, and appeal. Sometimes God has to push us with some form of discipline. At other times He pulls us with incentive. At times God reminds us of the true basis of why we serve – His love for us in Christ.
2 Co 5:14-20, 14 “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
Our past patterns tend to imprison us. We confuse preserving the principles of God’s Word with preserving a program. We believe that, because the program ministered to us in the past, we should not change it now. The law of inertia will blunt the work of Christ in our lives. We will remain stuck and immovable. This is involvement without results. We are happy with things as they are. This leaves us in spiritual exhaustion without worthwhile accomplishment.
Church life becomes monotonous and boring because it is routine, regular, and similar to running on a treadmill. It is easy to fall into mediocrity. Something that does not demand time and commitment from the people of God is probably not worthwhile. It will dim our vision. Deadness sets in. If God can rescue Jonah from failure, He can rescue us as well. He can rescue our church and our family.
Changing doctrine and changing methods are two different things. Some church leaders do not want their church to grow. They launch excuses for maintaining the status quo and resisting the changes necessary to advance the cause of Christ: “It is quality that counts”; “Numbers are not important”; “I like our church the way it is”; “It will cost too much in time and money.” We need to muster the faith necessary to move beyond our comfort zones.