Loving Others - It's Too Hard
How do you see others around you? Are they worthy of your prayers, your time, your friendship, your love? Is it too hard?
Jonah Chapters 1 & 2
Jonah saw the people of Nineveh as not worthy of his attention. They were a problem that he didn’t want to be involved with, a wicked people.
I remember hearing a story about Hereford Baptist Church in England that had a problem. A number of years ago, the city had opened a nightclub on Saturday nights not far from the church and hundreds of young people would come from surrounding areas to go. When it closed about 3am, these young people would catch buses home from the bus stops at the front of the church. While waiting for the buses, they would be sick in the church gardens, urinate, drop rubbish, and make a mess which upset the church members. So, the church members had a meeting to see if they could fix the problem—maybe call the council and get them to close the nightclub or get them to move the bus stops so it was someone else’s problem. As the meeting progressed, a woman raised her hand and asked to speak. She said, instead of seeing this as a problem, maybe it is a God opportunity. We have been praying for God to bring young people into the church and now we have a situation where they are on our door step every Sunday morning at 3am. Maybe instead of sending them away, we serve them, love them, and be among them. Shouldn’t we be at the church at 3am and serve them tea, open the toilets, and welcome them. She said I would be willing to be at the church at 3am Sunday morning and a few others said they would. So, they began to connect with these young people and over time, some of them became followers of Jesus.
Jonah saw the people of Nineveh as not worthy of his attention. They were a problem that he didn’t want to be involved with, a wicked people. They deserved God’s punishment. He didn’t want to go and prophesy to them because he knew God’s heart of prophecy is to draw people to himself. To give them opportunity to repent and restore.
How do you see others around you? Are they worthy of your prayers, your time, your friendship, your love? Is it too hard? But, with God, all things are possible. From the belly of a great fish, Jonah grabbed again this loving truth “Salvation comes from the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9b) We are all worthy of the gospel love of Jesus.