Scriptures: Jonah 1-4, Matthew 19:16-22
Read it on Bible Gateway here.
As we bridge the gap between the Old Testament and the New Testament this morning, we are looking at how God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and… how running away is a poor choice.
The scripture I gave you is a little longer than the usual, but I think you’ve probably heard of a guy named Jonah.
You’re welcome for that visual. I sometimes like to add captions to things– if you didn’t know that about me, now you do.
Jonah had a very specific call, and it was not pleasant. How would you like to go to a crazy bad city and tell them God will destroy them if they don’t repent? That’s not a fun day. So Jonah decided to go to another town, and skip out.
Bad day for Jonah. God sent a storm, almost wrecked the ship, Jonah jumped out, got swallowed by a big fish, hung out in the guts for 3 days, and then got barfed (yay) to try again.
Many of us have been through this kind of story, when we chose something that was comfortable instead of what we knew we needed to do, and then got chased with all kinds of unfortunate events, altogether leading us back to square one, a bit barfier than we started out.
I set this story in contrast with the rich young man of the New Testament. This guy comes up to Jesus and asks Him “what am I missing?” because clearly he was missing something. He could feel that there was more to life, that something was still not right, because he was doing all the right things and yet still didn’t FEEL IT.
So here you have someone who knew exactly what to do, and didn’t do it AT FIRST, versus someone who didn’t know what to do. So the rich young guy asked Jesus, and Jesus cut to the point: sell all your stuff AND FOLLOW ME. You see, his money was in the way of him experiencing raw community and learning directly from Jesus. Jesus was calling him to follow.
Most people get caught up on the “sell all your stuff” part, but that wasn’t the hardest part of the call, duh. The guy didn’t want to change his lifestyle of comfort for a Kingdom lifestyle. He was okay with following the rules and having an a-la-carte relationship with God, on his terms, but he wasn’t ready to fully commit to God.
Jonah got chased with a storm because a whole city was waiting to hear about repentance and God had assigned Jonah to that task and those people. Who is to say that the rich young man also didn’t get chased, that God came after him with dreams, or through other people, and that eventually he came around? Who’s to say that the young man missed his calling?
I hope not. I see two people who didn’t want to give up their comfort and follow God’s uncomfortable leading. There are so many other examples, but I put these two before you today.
Is there a part of your lifestyle that God is trying to step in and change? Are you being called to follow Him out of your comfort zone? I pray you don’t hesitate, or run away. I pray you choose what is most important, the God who is so full of love for you, and wants you to have a better adventure story in this life. He will invite you to come along with Him, out of the boundaries of comfort you’ve set up for yourself.
Will you drop everything for Him?
Today’s devotional is shared from Helena’s #ATLdevo series on phyllahouse.com.