If you read my May 9th, 2016 blog posting Have you ever… you will better understand this posting. Most of us all get attached to our pets as part of the family, many much like one of our children. We train them, we rear them, we raise them, we nurse them, we worry when they are ill because they cannot tell us what the problem is. Those of you with pets, most of you I assume, get the picture.
Jonah, after he left in a huff, went to sit in a spot where he could see the Ninevites. Most assuredly, he thought they would show their true colors again. And fail at their repentance of their evils and the salvation that God provided them. In fact, I believe he was truly hoping that they would backslide into their previous sins because Jonah truly wanted God’s judgement to be quick and wrathful upon them! <Personal Opinion>
Just as we mere humans become attached to our pets; so did Jonah become attached to his “vine,” “leafy plant,” or whatever other descriptions have been used throughout the numerous variations of the bible. This plant provided Jonah with shade in the midst of the hot desert sun in northern modern day Iraq.
Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. ~Jonah 4:6 NIV
Then God provided a worm to destroy the plant which provided the much needed shade. And Jonah wanted to die because of the loss of this plant. He had no love for the Ninevites, there was no one else around for him to love, the only thing Jonah could become attached to was that vine! Jonah, though he fulfilled his task of God, he failed in his true mission which was to take the message of God to these who were fellow creations of God, and learn to love them.
We are called by Jesus to love our neighbors, but God too called us to love our neighbors;
“…love your neighbor as yourself…” Leviticus 19:18 NIV
also, this was not the norm for spreading the message of God by going out on missions. It was the norm of others coming to the Israelite’s to learn of the one true God.
Furthermore, we are not called to go into the mission field already in possession of a love for those we are to give the good news to, we are summoned, or called, to go and spread the word of God. As I understand it, from interviews, we will learn to love those we evangelize in the mission field. It is only normal as we will become more understanding of them, their culture, their ways, understand them personally, etc. We are called to evangelize to the people which God loves and desires them to change & repent. Thus afording them the gift of salvation that God makes available to all His creation!
What are you becoming attached to? What is holding you back?
We are all doing something that veers us from the path we should be following, but we can return to the path by re-centering our lives. God wants us to be centered on Him and to spread His word to those who have souls that need to be saved! A dog, a cat, or a vine do not have souls that are being sentenced to hell, but our fellow man is being sentenced based upon his choices in his life. Remember: Nothing is as important as your fellow man, because the great commission is to:
…GO and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…[emphasis mine] ~Matt 28:19-Matt 28:20 NIV
A great man once said, something to the effect, ‘act as though you love your neighbor, love him to death and then the Holy Spirit will open to you a love that you have never known before.’ Go and love your neighbor by spreading to him the word, speak to him of the impending judgement, do not take it personal if he should refuse this offered gift of salvation. That is the greatest gift God has given us…the FREEDOM to Choose…FREEWILL!
Learn Apologetics, learn to evangelize, learn to speak to others about your faith, learn to expand your faith by study & reading & educating yourselves! Don’t be afraid of the reaction of others. What is the worst that can happen? You make a new friend? You guide someone, or just plant the seed, to salvation? It is all the work of the Holy Spirit and God so do not look at it as a failure on your part! Learn to love your neighbors!
May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!
MK Murphy, PhD, DD