Jonah 1-3 “The Word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai. “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.”
Most of us know the story of Jonah and the whale. I can recall countless times in my life when I could feel God sending me in a particular direction but like Jonah, I did not want to go. I had a similar encounter today.
At work, I overheard another co-worker who doesn’t know Jesus say the Lord’s name in vain. I looked over in his direction and recited — in my thoughts — what Jesus said in Luke 23:34. That is, ”Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Immediately after this thought however, I felt God encouraging me, saying, ”You should tell him.” I was very quick to shrug this off, and sadly, with too much ease I must say. To be perfectly honest I didn’t take the time to even consider the situation anymore. In my mind, people just don’t like to be told they are wrong. And me? I did not want to be the one to do it. I wasn’t ready.
But in my heart, I know that spreading the message of the gospel is something which all Christian believers are called to do. This would be the same as a pilot who is responsible for navigating a plane through the sky but decides that he doesn’t really want to fly a plane. In both situations, a dilemma emerges.
For believers who trust Jesus with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, Matthew 28:19 is very clear. We are to go and make disciples of all nations. (John 20:19-23; Luke 24:26-39) Jesus spoke the same message to the eleven apostles just before He ascended into heaven.
“Afterward He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen. And He said unto them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:14-18)
But as the above noted example with my co-worker reveals, I tend to avoid this. I like to keep the peace and avoid conflict. However, as a Christian, we are supposed to be Christ-like. Indeed, Jesus set the ultimate example of what it means to be a believer in Him, seeking His righteousness. Admittedly, I am not perfect but as James so aptly wrote, we are working toward perfection.
As I try to understand better how I can more effectively serve Jesus, I plan to read the scriptures, seeking His wisdom and knowledge in all things. Why? Because the Word equips us with the armour of God — those whose heart’s desire is to become a fisher of men. So what is my next step? I am challenging myself (and you as well) to read your Bible so that together we can learn to effectively communicate our faith.
“That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”(Philemon 1:6)
Perhaps, then, I will also become bold in proclaiming my faith. “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel” wherever I go. (Ephesians 6:19)
“All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (II Timothy 3:16)