As we come to the end of our series on Jonah we should feel something of its challenge for each of us individually and our church. Pastor and commentator Lloyd Ogilvie connects the message of Jonah to our vision for the gospel with these words:
The book of Jonah is no less challenging to the contemporary church. Often we desire to stay in the holy huddle when the next play calls for energetic evangelism and costly mission. Either our congregations are in mission or they are still a mission field.
The little book of Jonah packs a big punch into our exclusivism and judgmentalism about the pagan world. Evangelism and mission are not an aspect of a well-rounded congregational program; they are the reason for all we do in worship, education, and fellowship.
Churches, like individuals, can run away from God. It happens when traditions and customs become more important than our calling. We can get introverted into our own programs, buildings, and budgets. In every town or city there are hundreds, thousands, millions who do not know Christ. Our members must be called and equipped to be winsome, winning evangelists. And we dare not run away from the call of the city—your city or mine—that is as great to God as Nineveh of old. It is good to ask ourselves, then church officers, and then those vision shapers who determine how our congregations respond to obeying the Lord, “Where are we as a congregation? Back at Gath-hepher still wrestling with the call of God? In the hull of the ship asleep? In the depths trying to placate God so we can keep our agenda intact? Or, have we reached our Tarshish and think we’re in Nineveh?” There’s nothing worse for a congregation than to have the mind-set of Tarshish in Nineveh. The question is: “Do we love the people of Nineveh?”
Powerful words. They show us how the message of Jonah reinforces our call to be a gospel people.
We exist to promote the gospel of Jesus Christ
as we manifest his truth and character
in the church and in the world.
The Gospel: Love it! Live it! Share it! Defend it!