What exactly does Jonah 1:3 and 1 Corinthians 9:16-17 have in common? It appears to be plenty.
God continues to amaze me in the things He can show me through the book of Jonah. I am planted here for a while, and I am good with that now. I no longer see myself stuck here; I am planted. He has proven Himself faithful. Like Phillip, when God whisked him away from the Ethiopian eunuch on the road south of Jerusalem to Azotus, he takes me from Gath Heper (Jonah’s hometown) to Ephesus as Paul writes to the Corinthians, in the blink of an eye!
From Gath Hepher:
Over the last few days, I have been reading the New American Commentary on Jonah. After the initial background chapters of the commentary, the author begins a verse-by-verse discussion. The author describes Jonah’s behavior in v 1:3, as Jonah’s tragic decision to disobey God. Jonah was a prophet, called by God to speak to the people on God’s behalf. Jonah was given a gift of prophecy and the calling of a prophet. In other words, Jonah was in the LORD’s service.
One reference the author uses says that by “fleeing” the LORD’S presence Jonah knew he could not actually flee from God himself. The Hebrew people did not believe that God was limited to one place. Jonah later shows in v 9 that he believed God to be the Creator, thus everywhere. By fleeing from the LORD’s presence, Jonah announces empathically his unwillingness to serve God. His action is nothing less than open rebellion against God’s sovereignty.
To Ephesus and the letter to the Corinthians:
As I listened to John Bevere’s book X, Multiply Your God-Given Potential, I see a connection between what John Bevere says and my current study of Jonah. John is discussing our role as stewards of the grace gifts that God gives to each of us. He references Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:16-17.
16 For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. (NIV)
He highlighted the part of the verse “woe to me”.
The definition of woe: grievous distress, affliction, or trouble. When “woe” is used, it is not a minor thing!
Jonah faced that woe head on when He rebelled against what God had compelled him to do.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
We each have gifts that we are to use to serve others! We most often think of money when we think of stewardship. It is not just about money! It is about all of things God gives us, including the Spiritual Gifts.
It is about developing in the calling God has placed upon us. It is multiplying that calling in the lives of others. To do otherwise, are we like Jonah? Are we trying to flee from service to Him? Are we searching for peace but finding woe instead?
OUCH! My feet hurt from all the toe stomping this week!
Father in Heaven, how majestic is Your Name! You are Creator and the Sovereign King. You have given me gifts that I have ignored or ran away from. Instead of running from them, I run to them, I run to You. Renew in me a steadfast spirit. Give me direction and guidance in how I can best steward these gifts and the calling you have placed upon me. I know that it is not for my benefit alone but for service to You by serving others and like the parable of the talents, multiplying what you have so graciously given.
In Jesus Name, Amen.