PUTTING IT OFF
Jessica Albritton, Family Connections Minister, LHBC
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.
In college I once got a very frustrated phone call from a friend. She had procrastinated doing something important and her procrastination put her in a very stressful situation. My friend went on to say, “I had all month long to do this, I set reminders, but I just couldn’t help myself! Now I am freaking out and all stressed because the due date is so close and I’m afraid I am not going to have time to do this assignment!” All I could do was look at my friend ashamed and hang my head. As she was telling me this I was pulling out my computer at 10:30pm to start on an assignment that was due by midnight. I too had procrastinated. And to make matters worse I literally had done nothing the whole day except lay around thinking about how I needed to do the assignment. But I had ZERO motivation at all. Then to top it all off, I was invited to go see a few friends and their band play at an open mic night, and instead of saying, “no, I have to do this assignment” I got ready and walked out the door. Then there I was, back home, beating myself up. I did end up getting the assignment done just in time, not my best work but I passed!
Have you ever been there? You have an important assignment or task but you put it off? And there is always an excuse, busyness is a big one! And the longer you put it off the easier it is to keep putting it off. But then comes the day it’s due and you can’t put it off any longer. I heard it once said that procrastination is the arrogant assumption God will give you another opportunity in the future for what you were called to do today. Ouch. That one will sucker punch you right in the gut.
In the book of Jonah we see God speak to the prophet and tell him, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” Jonah, being such a star student, decided he didn’t like the assignment and chose to flee to Tarshish instead. Now I don’t really blame Jonah here, Nineveh was an evil and wicked city, I wouldn’t have been chomping at the bit to go there either. So Jonah runs the opposite direction and wouldn’t you have it, God sends a massive storm. Later on in the passage we see where the ship’s crew were so terrified of the waves they began to toss cargo overboard to lighten the load. These were experienced mariners that spent their life on the sea, for them to be terrified you know the storm had to be bad. Jonah of course knows the storm is a result of his disobedience but instead of crying out to God in repentance Jonah goes to the crew in verse 12 and says, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” Did you catch that? Don’t miss it, Jonah didn’t repent from his disobedience, he didn’t ask to be tossed overboard because of guilt and shame as a result of sin, Jonah still didn’t want to do what the Lord asked of him and he knew if he were to be tossed overboard he would surely die. This prophet, this mighty man of God, would rather face death than do what the Lord had asked him to do. Now we know that the Lord sent a big fish and Jonah spent three days in God’s unique version of timeout to think about what he had done. Jonah eventually does go to Nineveh and despite his crummy attitude the whole city repented and turned to God for forgiveness. I can’t help thinking however what would have happened to that city had Jonah dug his heels in longer. Would the city have been saved? Would God have sent someone else? We will never know on this side of heaven.
What about you? What is the Lord calling you to do that you have been putting off? Has the Lord called you to serve? What about give? Is He telling you it’s time to join that family group? Or maybe it’s to invite that neighbor or coworker to church. Whatever it is that the Lord is calling you to do, let me encourage you today, don’t put it off! Don’t procrastinate on the calling God has given you!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Heavenly Father, give me ears to hear Your voice and the boldness to step out and do what You call me to do! Help me to rid myself of all the excuses I can make. Help me to joyfully step into what You have for me and not grow content with life the way it is. Jesus, You desire better, help me to live that out! In Jesus name, amen!
MEMORY VERSE FOR THE WEEK:
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.