Yesterday was the first of my two-part sermon series on the Book of Jonah. This is a story about Jonah, and it’s a story about Israel, and it’s a story about me. And one thing that’s true for all of us, is that the call of God is often clear. It’s often as clear as – “Go to Nineveh!”
And yet, I’m regularly headed in the other direction. The Jonah story makes it so extreme. In some ways it’s like a caricature. “Jonah, go 500 miles that way.” And instead he heads 2,500 miles in the other direction with the stated purpose of fleeing from God. It’s as if the author is saying, I really don’t want you to miss what is going on here.
But our stories are rarely that extreme. Instead of this blatant running from God, we’re making that small choice to slightly compromise just this one time. It’s a step in that direction instead of this direction. It’s just one step toward Tarshish and away from Nineveh. It’s one slight movement away from what God has called us to do. But it’s only one step.