I was teaching in my mission’s class at Christ for the Nations the other day about the story of Jonah. If you’ve spent any time in church at all, you’ve no doubt heard the story a million times. It occurred to me, for the first time in my life, that Jonah was actually one of the most successful missionaries who has ever lived. Think about it, who else has ever preached such a short sermon… “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” …and seen repentance on such a grand scale? The whole city, including the king, repented and turned to the true God.
You would think any pastor or missionary or minister would be happy with such a successful altar call. Not Jonah. Look at his final words in this story, directed toward God, no less, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” Jonah was not happy the city repented. The Ninevites were bad folks. I’m talking Nazi soldiers invading Poland bad. No wonder Jonah had such disdain for them. It’s easy for me to sit back and judge Jonah. How could he be so blatantly disobedient and have such a bad attitude toward God?
God is looking for our hearts. Does he have mine? Does he have yours? You can have the most “successful” ministry, or business, or family, in the world, but does God have your heart? The next time I read Jonah, I’m not going to be so quick to judge him.