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The Call to Action
Series: The Divine Pursuit - A Study of Jonah
Week 1: Call - Day 4
“WE CANNOT SEEK OR ATTAIN HEALTH, WEALTH, LEARNING, JUSTICE OR KINDNESS IN GENERAL. ACTION IS ALWAYS SPECIFIC, CONCRETE, INDIVIDUALIZED, UNIQUE.” —BENJAMIN JOWETT
While I prepared this study, my brother was finishing his tour of duty during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Although he returned home physically safe, the emotional and spiritual stress took a toll. He returned home physically unharmed, but many of the men he had grown to love over those many months in the wilderness lost their lives. Violence and the pain of war got close to home.
A few months after his return, we were chatting about a child my family supports through a charity. I mentioned to him that Dave and I would like to bring our family on a mission trip someday to meet these children. Knowing my brother’s family shares our heart for spreading Christ through the world, I said, “maybe you would like to sponsor a child from the same country! Wouldn’t it be neat if we could all visit them one day?”
My brother’s response was chilling. As quickly as this country’s name came out of my mouth, he responded, “I would never sponsor a child from there.” Silence fell over the phone lines, as I was puzzled at his emotional and hasty response. Later I asked him about that conversation. He confessed his own inner turmoil: “I understand what you want to do. But that country raises kids to be terrorists. If you had seen what I’ve seen, you’d understand.”
I wondered what kind of history would have my mild- mannered, big-hearted brother responding in this way. I wonder if it’s the kind of history Jonah knew. I wonder about what one word God might send my way that would have me responding like this. It might be easy for me to sponsor a child from a terrorist country, but there are other things that God calls me to do that are closer to home. Personal. Gut-wrenchingly hard.
I’ve learned in my study of Jonah that God really likes the word “go.” God told Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Aaron to go. He told Jonah to go twice. It seems like God likes action—and the kind that is specific, concrete, individualized and unique. He doesn’t just call us to love our neighbors—He calls us to specific tasks individualized for us. Jonah just wasn’t any old man picked for Nineveh: he was a specific man picked for a specific purpose. Let’s explore more of why God’s specific plans for Jonah—and for us.
Two times God gives Jonah a specific request. Record here what God asks Jonah to do in 1:2:
Here’s an interesting note about this verse:
“The NIV Translation, preach against it, because its wickedness has come u ...
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