As is often the case, my posts on this blog are things I’ve thought about and studied about and prayed about in relation to Legacy’s Sunday sermon but didn’t actually preach. Sometimes these posts are things I wanted to say on Sunday — intended to say — but, for a variety of reasons, didn’t.
This is one of those posts.
We’re immersing ourselves in the story of Jonah here at Legacy this month as we build towards our annual Missions Sunday on March 28. This past week we considered God’s call to take the good news of his salvation to all peoples, specifically our enemies.
God wants all the people of Nineveh saved. He wants them to repent and come into a relationship with him. And God intends to use Jonah to make it happen. But Jonah doesn’t want to participate in the redemption of this particular people. So the prophet runs to get lost in another culture. He heads west to Tarshish, the farthest point west known in Jonah’s day. Yhwh is not honored in Tarshish. He’s not even known there.
Jonah knows he can’t run away from God. But he can go to another place, another world, where maybe he can escape God’s call. Jonah maybe can immerse himself in worldly things. He can become overly occupied with possessions and status and busy-ness and career and sports and home ownership. Maybe a wife and kids. If he can just get away from the temple and from a lot of church people trying to tell him what to do, maybe Jonah can find some peace.
Of course, Jonah never got that chance.
God’s call on your life is unmistakable. It’s clear. You understand exactly what it is. But are you avoiding it?
I felt my God’s call to preach for years. And for years I said ‘no.’ I rationalized my rejection of the call. I was working at KRLD! I was the Sports Director at the Texas Rangers flagship station in a top-ten market! I was already doing enough. I was being a good influence there. I was shining like a light. Don’t talk to me about preaching the gospel, I’ve got work to do! God needs me here at the Ballpark!
Turns out I was just hiding at the Ballpark. Running away from the call. I’m sure God could have used me in radio. I’m sure he wanted to. But I wasn’t letting him. I was afraid. Or maybe I just wasn’t that interested. I was preoccupied with chasing my own dreams to insure my own comfort. Jonah tried to hide in the hull of a pagan ship. I was hiding in the tunnels at a stadium in Arlington.
In what ways are you avoiding God’s call on your life? What is God wanting to do with you and through you that you’re not letting him do? What are you running away from? Where are you hiding? In your job? In your recreation activities? In your family?
Why don’t you come on out? It’s beautiful up here. Getting involved in people. Getting into the middle of their broken lives. Talking to them about the miracle of salvation, the power of the empty tomb, the promise of the Resurrection, the glory we share in our risen Lord. Helping people. Encouraging people. Guiding people. Sharing their burdens. It’s the hardest work I’ve ever done. And, by far, the most rewarding. You might not be called to preach. But I’m certain our God is calling you to something big for the Kingdom. Something really big. Something he’s equipped you for and empowered you to do. And maybe you’re scared. Or uninterested.
Stop hiding. Commit right now, today, to doing exactly what our God is calling you to do. Act now and avoid the hungry fish!