My Apology to you, lessons from Jonah
Over the past several months God has put a lot of messages on my heart to write about and share on ETM.
But sadly, I have been too busy or distracted to write them. I mean, it’s not really a big deal, right? All I was putting off was writing on a simple website – a blog – not anything “real”. Part of why I felt that was was due to a few comments I received about this site, saying that by writing for a website I am just fooling myself into thinking that I’m doing something for God and the church, while in reality I’m just wasting my time that should be used to do something “real” with actual people.
Sadly I let those words of discouragement affect me for way too long, evidenced by the fact that I have only written a single article since hearing them.
This week God used an extremely long and boring drive through Nebraska (twice) to teach me something. With nothing else to entertain me for 18 + hours in the car, I turned to podcast sermons from a few churches that I really like. A few of those messages were by Pastor Lance Ralston, from Calvary Chapel of Oxnard.
The passage covered was a story I have heard numerous times throughout my life, but for some reason I found that this particular sermon was crammed packed with several new insights. It was awesome! And then it became convicting.
The message ended by saying that any time we refuse to do what God tells us to, we are being like Jonah. No, we may not be picking up and running in the opposite direction of what we are told to do, but is that any worse than disobeying by sitting on our couches while ignoring God? When God tells you to do something, you need to do it. It didn’t take long for that message to personally hit me, and instantly I knew it was about ETM.
It took another two days of dwelling on the sermon before something else hit me.
But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. – Jonah 1:4-5 (ESV)
One of the things the pastor mentioned that I had never before considered about the story of Jonah, was the impact his disobedience and sin would have on others. When Jonah booked passage on a ship to Tarsus, it wasn’t a pleasure cruise. It was a cargo ship. He was sailing with sailors who made a living from delivering cargo.
But then Jonah stepped on board. And as a consequence of his personal sin the entire crew suffered. After they set sail a storm hit the ship. One powerful enough to panic an experienced crew to the point that they started dumping their cargo, their livelihood, overboard. The storm almost broke the ship in half, because it was so strong. They were not the ones disobeying God, they were the innocent bystanders, but because of Jonah’s disobedience the crew lost an entire shipment of cargo, and almost lost their lives.
If God puts a message on my heart to write about, then I need to do it. There are no excuses about how “nobody will read it” or how “pointless” a virtual ministry is. I just need to obey. It’s up to God to make it effective, and since I don’t know the future I can’t even hope to make a prediction about how the article may affect someone.
There might have been a person who would have read one of those articles on this website who needed to hear exactly what I was told to share. Maybe they needed wisdom, edification, or conviction, from what they would have read. But because I never wrote it, I missed out on an opportunity to be used by God to be a blessing in another person’s life. And for what? So I could watch some movies or play games?
Or maybe what I wrote never would have been used to help someone. Maybe I’m just supposed to write it out of obedience. For whatever the reason, I was led to do something awesome and I didn’t do it. And for that, I give you a heartfelt apology. I’m sorry I disobeyed God and was not there for you when you needed me to be.
2 thoughts on “My Apology to you, lessons from Jonah”
I don’t know if you realize this, but only recently for the first time since Jonah has the city of Nineveh been void of people who worship God. Because of ISIS, the Christians fled, but the Ninevites had a large population who follow Jesus before ISIS, which means thousands of years of Ninevites worshipping God until finally a missionary comes to tell them about Jesus whom they accepted with glad hearts. Imagine if God had allowed Jonah to disobey, how many people would have perished to hell?
The consequences of Jonah’s disobedience would have been much worse had God not forced the issue.
Great point, Matthew. I was looking at the more immediate effects of disobeying God, but we can’t possibly know how many generations could be affected by our disobedience. One Biblical instance is when Israel was told to completely destroy the Amalekites, but they let one live, and his descendants eventually nearly had the entire Jewish population killed during the time of Esther. So yeah… Disobeying God has far reaching consequences.