Compassion for the Lost

I have been reading and reflecting in the book of Jonah the past couple of weeks. I love this book and if you have not read it in a while, I encourage you to take 30 minutes to read the whole book. I find myself laughing out loud by myself from all the irony in the book. Here is a short breakdown:

  1. God sends Jonah on a mission to warn to city of Ninevah that God would destroy it because of its great evil.
  2. Jonah “runs” from the presence of God (as if that is possible).
  3. The sailors who do not have a relationship with God seemingly fear and respect God more than Jonah does.
  4. Jonah spends three days inside the belly of a fish. I cannot imagine the horrific smell of living inside a fish for three days. I have heard it called a  “port-a-potty” with fins. The fish eventually vomits him up.
  5. Ninevah repents and the king himself steps off his throne, removes his royal robes, and puts on sackcloth to show his remorse that they might not be destroyed.
  6. Jonah becomes angry and wants to die when God relents from sending disaster to Ninevah.
  7. Jonah becomes angry and wants to die a second time when God allows the plant to die.

God teaches Jonah through the plant that Jonah is more angry that the plant died (angry enough to die) than for the exceedingly great city of Ninevah- where there were more than 120,000 people who did not know their right hand from their left hand….

The story of Jonah reminds me that I serve a God full of compassion, full of grace and mercy, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.[1] God desires that no one perishes, but that all reach repentance.[2] So, what does this mean for me today? Regardless of my past or my shortcomings or my failures, God wants to use me to share Jesus to a lost world.

There are approximately 7.3 billion people living in this world today. God has called his followers on a mission to go and make disciples and to share Jesus with a lost and hurting world.[3] We do not wait for the call because it has already been given to us. God will use us no matter where we are placed to share Jesus with others. I want to feel the heartbeat for those who are lost and do not know or believe God’s salvation for mankind. If you have not felt that heartbeat recently (or ever), ask God to share his compassion for lost people with you, pray fervently for it and he will change your heart. Ask God to show you more specifically where you can make a difference in the lives of those around you. He is able to do far more abundantly all that we ask or think according to his power at work within us.[4]

[1] Jonah 3:2

[2] 2 Peter 3:9

[3] Matthew 28:18-20

[4] Ephesians 3:20

About Vanessa Lyon

I love Jesus. I love people. I love the beach and summertime.
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2 Responses to Compassion for the Lost

  1. Thank you for your reminder of what is the heart of God!

  2. Gordon Padget says:

    I feel this is a very timely post Pastor Wayne. If God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world (John 3:17) who are we to condemn it.

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