Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Missionary (10/19/06)
- TITLE: The Reluctant Missionary
By Ernest Yoder
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Jonah, a Galillean, was called to preach to the people of Nineveh about 500 miles to the north east. In effect he was to be a foreign missionary. Yet to attach “missionary” to Jonah seems to be an oxymoron. The Ninevevites were considered enemies of his people the Israelites and he did not want to go to them in any way, shape, or form. Instead he “ran away from the Lord” (Jon. 1:3) in the opposite direction toward Tarshish, a city thought to be located at the far western end of the Mediterranean Sea in southern Spain. Even after being ingested and regurgitated by the “great fish” He still became angry when God showed compassion on the Ninevites who he did finally go and preach to. What was with this man?
Apparently he had a personal ax to grind. He had his own agenda. He did not have the mind of God when it came to preaching to a certain class of people. Was he prejudiced or perhaps fearful because they were sworn enemies? We don’t know. But we do see that the love of our God is toward all people even if we consider them enemies or are afraid of them. What is in this story for us?
First we should respect the sovereignty of God. He knows what He is doing when He calls us to do something. (Incidentally He will never call us to do anything that is not supported by the Bible.) Second, as Christians, though it may not be preaching, we have a mission to accomplish with our life. Then we should bury our prejudices. We should be prepared to exercise our faith if fear is a factor in our reluctance to obey God. And then we should not complain if the results are not as we expected them to be. We should never run away from God. What He asks us to do He will give the resources to accomplish the task. God has uniquely gifted us for a certain tasks or responsibilities on this earth not unlike how Jonah’s preaching hit the nail on the head for the Ninevites.
It is true that our human nature does get in the way at times. It is not always easy to love those who God wants us to be missionaries to. That is the reason we need to pray for His love to be strong in our hearts. Honor God’s hand in your life by working for Him with your life. Then it will not be said of us, “He (or she) is a reluctant missionary.”
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