Before we open part two of this blog a friend of mine contacted me today via text. He asked me to deposit money into a checking account for church purposes. Now allow me to place this into context.
I have spoken to this friend, who I still love like a brother, maybe three times in the last 30 years. While I dont know for sure what type of life he is living today--he once battled drug addiction. And out the blue he asks for money? And he said “God told him this.” Well I like to think I have a fairly decent walk with God as well. So when he told me this, in a very incredulous and ungodly manner I questioned his walk because if God tells you to tell me something—I am of the opinion that there will be at least a hint of this word coming to me as well. In other words, if we are both serving the same God—and we are headed in the same direction then we should both in some way hear the voice of the shepherd. If we are both on a ship—with the same captain should we not understand what is going on if we are both in a storm?
This brings me back to the story of Jonah, and if this is the first time you have read my blog please part I of this blog and you will catch up to where we are with this utterly fascinating story.
When it comes to our friend Jonah, he felt the people he was sent to minister a word of hope to—were immoral. Therefore he has now placed himself into a Godlike position. (Note to reader. Be careful when you decided to tell God how to do His job.) These people living in sin and who could not hear from God needed a word of redemption and he held their eternal lives hostage because he had issues with things they had done as a people. So think about it—he has decided to judge men just like him as being immoral; but what he was doing was fine.
Jonah is cognizant that he is hearing the voice of God—and he is choosing to not follow the will of God… yet he is casting aspersions upon people who just like him, who are living outside the will of God. Sounds like many church people today right?
But let’s apply this passage to our lives. Sometimes when we are called into service, instead of asking God why or how we should just be bold enough to ask Him to send us anywhere, but go with us. Give us any burden but also to comfort us with the knowledge that he will sustain it for us. To sever any ties but the ties that binds us to him. Then the Words of God will come to us and direct us as to where we should be and where we should go.
Now in closing I am going to hit you with something qusi controverisal but it’s important to note that when life was going crazy for the men on the boat that carried Jonah into the storm, they came to him and he knew it was him. He knew things were out of order because his life was out of order. He had no right to be on the boat or headed in the same direction as these men. So when he is faced with the inevitable he could not and would not lie. He’d come face to face with his own truth. Sometimes things happen in our world because the thing that is designed to carry us through the storm, has someone, or something riding it that is out of order thus the boat, the family, the church is out of order. Once the entity stops trying to be like the world and retains its place as the family or the church, a lot of storms we go through will discontinue. We have to retain ourselves as a peculiar people and set apart from the world. We were never supposed to be of the world. We as well as the family or the church as a whole sometimes go through storms because we have walked outside the Word of God. We’ve clung to the world so much we have lost our flavor as Christians. So if we were sent to the world, but we are now of the world, then what good are we? We will ride the boat with them into destruction.
Yes, Jonah is a short little book I invite you to revisit but the thing that moves me most about it is this. We can find fault with the decision Jonah made but before you do so you must first ask yourself how have you answered the calling upon your life? To protect yourself from falling into a Jonah like situation, not only should you be mindful of where God would have you to go, but also be careful who you align yourself with. I am not saying do not date or associate with people with baggage or who may not have a Christian walk on the same level as yours. Just be mindful of the level of their walk and know what luggage they are bringing with them. And if you find them bringing you down—have the courage to either get off the boat or throw them overboard.
This brings me back to where we began.
I love my friend, even though we have been apart for many years. We have a history that cannot be replicated with another. But I had to throw him overboard. He will always be my friend but since we were not traveling in the same direction I could not allow him to bring me down. Why? Because I am answering the calling upon my life and I will echo the words Jesus said when he was just 12 years old. “I must be about my Fathers business who has sent me.”
Oh yeah--Remember today--this day, is the first day of the rest of your life.