Week 40 Friday

Today’s scripture selection: Jonah

Key verse: Jonah 4:2

It was a message that Jonah simply didn’t want to deliver.

Why?

Because it was a message of hope; and warning; and the potential for forgiveness and mercy.  Why would Jonah not want to deliver such a message?  Because it was to be given, from God, to one of Israel’s enemies – the Assyrians.

So Jonah, the reluctant prophet, took flight.

Now, of course, you can’t run away from God – or His call on your life.

And that’s what I find most intriguing about this ancient story.

When God questioned why Jonah had run away from his calling, Jonah answered:

“I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.”

God helped Jonah understand that he should not get in the way of His desire to reach out in love to everyone – even the people Jonah hated.

He also helped the prophet understand that he should have followed through on his job – the job God had given him to do.

These are important lessons for us as well.

We all have the capacity, and the calling, to reach out to others as instruments of God’s grace.  We can all be part of the solution to the world’s ills – instead of part of the problem.

That’s God desire for each of us.

The only question is – are we willing to answer the call?

Prayer: Lord, give me the courage to be your instrument of reconciliation – whenever and wherever you call me.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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