The message is for the least deserving. Is there someone you find hard to get along with? Does the prospect of having a conversation or indeed even seeing that person drain your energy and fill you with complete dread? Perhaps this is how Jonah felt when God asked him to go and spend time and have a conversation with the Ninevites. These guys were infamous for their brutality and violence so I can understand Jonah’s reaction. This wasn’t exactly a cushy number, this really was a scary mission.
We all love the story of Jonah, especially the bit where he gets swallowed by a massive fish! And yet, this interesting book tucked away among the pages of the Old Testament is much more than a cute wee story. The relationship between God and Jonah is brilliant and even funny. But this book shows us that we have a God who is deeply concerned about people who seem to be the least deserving. It shows all of us that in spite of our own strange ways, doubts, flaws, sin and disobedience – God loves us and can use us, just as he did Jonah. But also that none of us nor indeed anyone else really deserves Gods love and mercy and yet He offered it to us and to those we prefer to ignore.
The story of Jonah ends quite abruptly with a question from God: ‘should I not be concerned about that great city’? So how should we respond this Lenten Season which moves into Easter? Well maybe one way is to go for a 10 minute walk around our community and think and pray for others around us and ask God to show us where the need is. Remember that while we were still in our sin, Jesus died for us. Together we seek to build the Kingdom of God whom we love and serve.
God bless you this lent as we grow deeper, closer and wider.