Each man said to his mate, “Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us.” So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Tell us, now! On whose account has this calamity struck us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” ~ Jonah 1:7, 8
READING: Jonah 1:1-10
The sailors asked: Who broke the rules? And what other rule can we keep that will balance breaking the other rule?
These men lived in a world ruled by rules. Survival meant manipulating the rules. Jonah broke a big rule by running instead of obeying.
But instead of manipulating God he admitted his sin and threw himself into the sea of God’s mercy or judgment.
Belatedly, he said with Jesus, I will drink this cup; with Paul, I don’t care what happens to me, I will preach the gospel; with Joshua, you choose but I will serve the Lord; with Esther, if I perish, I perish; with Peter, you be the judge but I will keep speaking of Jesus as the Christ; with David, I will not give to my God what costs me nothing.
Of the reading of church planting books, of attending conferences, of comparing and contrasting, of beating up the self every Sunday night and of keeping all the church planting rules, there is no end.
Asking for God’s grace and mercy in time of trouble may seem simple enough but it takes a dying to self, a swallowing ego and a certain kind of boldness to approach God’s throne.
To do it repeatedly seems unfair for God. Allow grace to become grace, perhaps for the first time, by praying for God’s mercy. It is his glory and delight to be merciful to us.
Lord, Have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.