Reflections on a Reluctant Missionary
“God is always up to something great.” Pastor Dan
Jonah is the story of a man who knew God, chose to ignore God, ran away from God making others suffer from his disobedience yet all the while God was merciful, faithful and just to see his plan fulfilled using this stubborn man. After four weeks of digging through Jonah I have a better understanding and appreciation for this “Reluctant Missionary”. I took a few key things away from this series. One was a similarity between myself and Jonah, second the characteristics of God that were revealed and lastly the place of prayer and fellowship with God.
What I learned about Jonah:
- He was resentful towards the love God had for those Jonah felt didn’t deserve it.
- He was disobedient and felt he knew better than God how to deal with Nineveh
- He enjoyed his comfort zone and grumbled at being pushed out of it
- He blatantly ran away from God’s call and his sin directly impacted those close to him
- It took a major crisis…a disgusting whale belly experience…to prompt him to pray and acknowledge the sovereignty of God
- Although he believed in God he did not regularly fellowship with him
What I learned about God:
- He loves everyone…even those who are evil right now…because he made us all
- When he calls you and me it is specific, clear and personal.
- He will see his plans fulfilled, no matter how long it takes us to join him.
- He will get our attention.
- He hears our prayers.
- He is slow to anger, compassionate, abounding in love for everyone.
- He is a God of second chances.
- He doesn’t hold grudges.
- What he has done once he will do again.
- His fierce mercy knows no boundaries.
What I learned about myself:
- I am prone to run from his call.
- I have belief but struggle with fellowship with God.
- I have disagreed with God over people.
- I like my comfort zone and tend to grumble when God wants to push me out of it.
- I can be unaware of how my sin effects those closet to me.
- It has taken a major crisis to force me to submit and pray…and when the crisis passes I go back to my old habits.
- I do not always rejoice over what God rejoices over.
This series showed me how relentless God is in seeing his plans fulfilled. It showed me that even someone with a hard, disobedient heart like Jonah can still be used by God. God’s faithfulness, mercy and gentle correction were evident to me throughout this series. Fellowship with God allows me to see and experience his heart, which keeps me on track with his plan…which is ultimately the place I want to be. Jonah didn’t seem to be a man of prayer at first but throughout the story he revealed that when all else had failed him and he was at the end of himself, prayer was the tool he hadn’t lost. Prayer is always a part of us, always accessible and a direct line to God’s heart. It is an obedient, submissive act that re-aligns us to his will. Prayer didn’t get Jonah out of the work God had intended for him and it didn’t change his heart right away towards Nineveh but it did put him back in the right place with God. I know this series was about being missional but without prayer and fellowship I will not be in a place to understand God’s heart for everyone. The elements of a Christian life are intertwined and we can’t compartmentalize them. We need prayer, fellowship with God and daily reading of the Word to prepare our hearts to be used by him…but if we miss the mark like Jonah did thank goodness we serve a God of second chances who is always up to something great!
Some questions for reflection I took away from the Reluctant Missionary:
- Have I heard a specific call from God? Where is my ‘Nineveh’?
- Where in my circumstances have I run away from God?
- Can I recall the Word of God in times of distress? If not…why?
- God is always up to something great…does my behaviour show this in a struggle?
- Is my prayer life like Jonah’s…sporadic only in times of struggle?
- How does my life exhibit an understanding of the significance of God’s personal and individual love?
- Will I allow God to work in me so I can ‘go work out there’?
What did God say to you during Jonah? As you reflect on where you are with God what is he asking you to be obedient about? What will you do about it?