“Are your concerns God’s concerns?”
This week, Lead Pastor Carl Gulley continued our series, Whales + Worms: Our reluctance. His relentlessness. During the course of the series, we are looking at the life of Jonah and how God’s relentless pursuit led Jonah into the divine purpose God had for him.
GOD ALWAYS PROVIDES
In Jonah 4, we see God is continuing to provide for Jonah – even while he is hoping for the downfall of Nineveh. God appoints a plant to grow up over Jonah and offer him shade and comfort. Up to this point in Jonah’s life, God has provided a storm, a whale and now, a leafy plant. After the comfort of a little shade, God provides for Jonah one more time. But this time, it makes Jonah uncomfortable: God provides a worm. The purpose of the worm is to attack the plant, so Jonah is no longer taking comfort in earthly things, but in God. Jonah’s response? “It would be better for me to die than to live.” We witness Jonah missing the point of God’s deliverance to Ninevah; it was not to seek his own comfort, but to be the vehicle for the revival of an entire city.
BE ABOUT THE FATHER’S BUSINESS
It’s easy for us to read the story of Jonah and make ourselves the hero; we would never ignore God’s calling on our life, right? Maybe not. Our tendency, just like Jonah, is to retreat under our own “plants” for comfort. We gravitate towards introspection and ease over risk and engagement with the assignments God has for us. When faced with the choice to stir revival in a city or to sit in the comfortable shade under a plant, more often than not, we choose the plant. It is in these very places God will continue to pursue us out of our comfort zones – like how He provided a worm to attack the plant. Where in your life are you sitting under a plant in the shade instead of stepping into the assignment God has given you?
OUR RESPONSE //
Here are a few questions we can ask ourselves to make God’s concerns our concerns:
- Ask yourself, “Do I really care about what God cares about?” This is a hard question, and it may reveal places where you are not aligned with God. As we saw through the story of Jonah though, God’s heart isn’t solely for the people Jonah will impact but for Jonah himself. As we partner with God and examine ourselves to see if our heart matches His, He is kind and faithful to correct us so we can draw closer to Him.
- Pray for a worm. Ask, “Lord, would You send a worm to attack whatever leafy plant I am sitting under?” This is a bold prayer, and we need to be prepared for areas of ease to become uncomfortable. But we ultimately know it will align us with His heart for us and for others.
We hope to see you next week as we wrap up our series!