matters of concern
"You are concerned over the plant which cost you no labor and which you did not raise; it came up in one night and in one night it perished. And should I not be concerned over Nineveh, the great city?" —Jonah 4:10-11
Jonah was more interested in his comfort than in the salvation of 120,000 people. We too tend to stay in our comfort zones and out of the "evangelization zone."
Jonah had such warped priorities because he was unforgiving, bitter, angry, and hateful. This combination of toxins inspired Jonah to disobey the Lord. After spending three days in the belly of a whale, Jonah reluctantly decided to obey God. His heart had not changed, but anything is better than living in a whale. In summary, Jonah was unforgiving and disobedient. His disobedience was at first blatant and later hidden.
Many Christians today are also unforgiving and disobedient. Some disobey blatantly while others obey God reluctantly and minimally because of guilt, the fear of hell, or other pressures. This exterior obedience may actually be interior disobedience. "The written law kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Cor 3:6).
Why are most of the two billion Christians in the world inactive in sharing the faith? Jonah tells us more about ourselves than we may have ever wanted to know. Both blatant and subtle disobedience is bred by unforgiveness. Consequently, accept Jesus' power to forgive and then evangelize the world, beginning with yourself.
Prayer: Father, may I care deeply about the salvation of people currently on the road to hell.
Promise: "Lord, teach us to pray." —Lk 11:1
Praise: Jill, no longer able to turn her back on the abortion practices at the hospital in which she worked, stood up for truth. She eventually lost her job, but she was at peace with God.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Unforgiveness on audio AV 41-1 or video V-41, or our book, Unforgiveness is the Cause.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Giles H. Pater, April 24, 2003
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 28, 2003