Ego Part 1
Egoism is defined as an “inordinate concern for One’s welfare and interest.” Jonah was a man completely devoted to his own interest. His thinking, feeling and acting were all driven by and devoted to himself. Usually an egotistic person will have no room for God, he readily, easily edges Him out.
In chapter one, God commissions Jonah to go and preach to the 120.000 people of Nineveh, but Jonah refuses to go and he decides to run from God. There is something disturbingly wrong with Jonah’s response. Is because he really felt that God would have compassion on these Gentiles? I think there was something else going on.
I think Jonah loves the Lord and is faithful to him in many way, but only when it’s in his interest (2 Kings 14) and for his people. But like all of us there is something still in Jonah that God is trying to unearth. Something deeply embedded in him either through his culture or through a false theological assumption.
You see, He had a deep seated prejudice that actually clouded his vision of God’s great compassion for a lost and dying world. God, from the beginning, had intended for Israel to be a light to all nations, a function which they had signally failed to honor. National prejudice certainly was a problem, because no true Israelite could imagine such a thing as preaching to Gentiles.
So what is the lessons here?
Here is lesson # 1
The Lord is a God of boundless compassion not just for “us” but also for “them”
I knew you were sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to turn your plans of punishment into a program of forgiveness! Jonah 4:2/ Message
He therefore wants us to remove any and everything in our lives that will hinder us from reaching them with his truth, love, compassion and forgiveness. What are some possible hindrances that could keep us from reaching them with the love and compassion of the lord:
1/ stop condemning unbelievers to hell before giving them a chance with a loving and compassionate God
2/ destroy the culture of “us” against “them”
3/ break down the walls in our churches so that the church can become outward focus and not only inward focus
4/ give up the excuses (I am too shy, I am afraid to talk about Jesus, I don’t want my friends to know that I’m a Christian, I may lose my friends etc..) that we use every to tell others about Christ
5/ stop fighting, trashing, criticizing others who are taking risks and doing creative and out of the box things to reach the lost with this gospel of compassion
In our introduction to this series, we said that everything about Jonah began to go down when he decided to edge God out of his life and run from him. The words “Went down” (twice in this verse; see also v. 5; 2:6) is also a euphemism for death (e.g., Gen. 37:35). The suggestion is that each step away from sharing your faith is one step closer to “going down” to death (see notes on Jonah 1:4–5; 2:6).
Like Greg Laurie once said,
If the church does not evangelize it will fossilize
What that means is, the church will die spiritually, it will become dull, it will lose its zeal, passion. And so will a Christian who refuses to share his/her faith.