Has the Lord ever asked you to do something that you didn’t want to do? Has He asked you to be a blessing to someone you felt didn’t deserve being blessed? He certainly has done so with me. Why? To change my heart.
“Lord, they’ve done everything wrong! They are in this situation because of their own poor choices. Why should I help them? They are just going to mess it all up again. How dare they make bad choices over and over again and the expect someone else to help them out of the mess they created? I helped them once and it didn’t make any difference.” (sounds a bit ‘prodigal’s older brotherish’ don’t you think)
And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:17)
And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land. (Jonah 2:10 ESV)
But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 4:7-8 ESV)
And the LORD said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:10-11 ESV)
Jonah didn’t want to bless the people of Nineveh by warning them to repent. He felt they deserved God’s wrath. He didn’t want God to take pity on them. God had to remind Jonah who he was and Whose he was. He’s had to do that with me too.
It isn’t my money nor my resources – everything I have comes from the Lord. I am not to judge the hearts of men, rather whatever I do, I am to work and serve as unto the Lord not man. I am to be generous to those who have less than I do. I am to love my neighbor as myself.
My life has been bought at a price. I already possess the greatest possession of all, and yet I have the audacity to begrudge some material thing from anyone. Really? My greatest possession is even something I can share without the fear that I will lose it or have less of it. I am called to be generous with my faith, sharing it with anyone who has need of the good news of Jesus Christ. Salvation through Christ is a free gift that will not be taken away from those who possess it. AND it is a gift that keeps on giving in the hearts and hands of those who have been changed by it.
When you know who you are and Whose you are, you give freely, even unto the undeserving, because you know that you also are undeserving.
Thank You Jesus, that I didn’t have to be swallowed by a big fish to learn the lessons that Jonah has taught me. Thank You Father for my brothers and sisters in Christ who remind me when my attitude is out of line with Your will. Thank you for the reminders in Your Holy Word of who I am. Help me Lord to view my service to others as service to You. Thank You for not giving up on me even when I mess things up again and again. Help me to share my treasure of Your Good News with those who need to hear it. Help me to have wisdom and to share generously all that You have blessed me with. Amen.
I had the privilege of serving those who have less than I do this morning – I was serving Jesus. It is humbling to have God use the least of these to teach us lessons. And I’m ashamed to admit that it wasn’t the first time, and I fear it won’t be the last. I came to serve, but left more blessed. That is just how God works. If we are humble and able to be taught a lesson, God will continue to shape and mold our hearts to be more like Jesus. Thank You Lord for the lessons.
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:37-40 ESV)
Do unto other as you would do to Jesus.
Be encouraged. Press on.