Summary: The mariners of Jonah have much to teach we Christians on how to get along with others-even if they are impossible people.
ABSENT ACRIMONY ALLEVIATES ANIMOSITY
The mariners now pose the second question to Jonah following his confession about the God he serves. The first question in verse 10 was in regards to the “Why” of his running. This question spoken here has more to do with an honest inquiry as to what should be done to him for his running away from this God.
As I study these two verses along with the rest of chapter one, I am convinced that these sailors were not as bad as one’s first impression of them could be. Far from being quick to act, these sailors took their time in trying to find out all of the facts before any type of action would be considered. There was no rush to judgment from these experienced men of the seas. The opposite seems to be the case. While Jonah thought nothing about them and what could happen to them via his rebellion, these experienced men acted with great restraint. As I read this chapter, I continually gain more and more respect for these men of long ago. While the sea continued to toss the boat with its angry waves and while all on board were in great danger and filled with all kinds of emotions, these mariners were careful to move against one who believed in the God of the Universe. Oh, I wish the world would be as considerate of those of us who claim the name of God through Christ and be more circumspect towards hurting the, “Apple of God’s eye.” The Bible warns all that if one of God’s children is hurt-it hurts Him also. The world needs to recognize just whom it belittles and harms for its own welfare.
As I study this question by these cautious men, I see three things, which come to my mind regarding the question they asked of Jonah.
The first part of my sermon has to deal with the ADVERSITY of the situation in which they all found themselves that day so long ago. The second part of my sermon has to do with the ATTITUDE, which was displayed, by these sailors and that of Jonah. Then, I notice the ADMIRABLE qualities of these pagan sailors and as such, I can see where I need to improve my attitude in so many areas as I meet circumstances, events and people whose lives become entangled with mine.
I. ADVERSITY: It would be nice if there were no problems, no adversity to enter into our lives but that is not the case. We all know that problems come and go and sometimes these problems are caused by events while others are caused by various other instances, including people. Some of these problems caused by people are from friends and acquaintances while others are caused by people entering our lives and never staying long enough to become our friends. Some times problems are caused by people with whom we work, or with ones with whom we are “thrown together” for a common cause. Sometimes we can just walk away from people who disturb us while at other times we have to stay and endure the situation until events change our relationships.
Such was the situation here in verse eleven. Jonah and these sailors were in a situation of convenience and Jonah was the one who brought the trouble. Jonah and these sailors, plus the people on board, were in a situation where they had to endure until something intervened or until one of them could depart from the others.
The first part of my sermon’s first division has to do with the entire group coming together as a mere Accident. These sailors were on board doing their jobs; the passengers were sailing in the boat to their destination and Jonah was on board-running from God. Each was a separate entity and each entity was settled on doing what was planed for the separate groups. These all boarded the boat with their individual plans and once on the Sea, they were thrown together in a storm, the likes of which they probably before never experienced. I really doubt the fact that if they were any place other than the boat they would be joined together for any purpose. Yet, they were here by mere chance and they were all locked into a very stressful situation.
Sometimes life is like that. Sometimes people come into our lives at work, social clubs, community activities and yes even at church and we are together not by any other fact but that we are in each other’s company by chance. There are some people with whom we have daily, weekly or maybe monthly encounters whom we really do not care for one in a personal manner, but we are where we are by chance for the accomplishment of a prescribed goal. Once that goal has been reached whether temporary or permanent, we go our ways and never really miss those with whom we have had to endure our time spent together.