Summary: Short story sermon
From the celestial kingdom of God into the vivid history of a biblical time often not spoken of came a heavenly message for the lost upon the unwilling ears of a man chosen by God. The spiritual ruling said, “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
However, when Jonah realized the magnitude of his divine assignment, he quickly traveled to Joppa instead. The man chosen by God headed for the local harbor, found a ship, paid the fare, and sailed for Tarshish to flee from an assignment from God. This man chosen by God ran not because he feared the people he was sent to preach to, rather Jonah ran because he viewed himself too small for the assigned job.
As soon as the ship sailed across the waters, God dispatched a great and violent windstorm to stir the sea. Suddenly, the rickety boards loudly creaked and groaned as the tiny wooden vessel was tossed to and fro like someone twisting and turning in their restless night’s sleep.
As the violent tempest agitated the restless waters of the raging deep, all of the sailors grew afraid and cried out to their own gods. Nevertheless, to their pleas came no reply because their screams to their gods were deafened by the turbulent roar from the God of Jonah’s sea. In response, the sailors unwisely threw their precious cargo overboard to lighten their load in hopes of saving their lives.
However, despite of what was happening around him; Jonah, a man chosen by God, decided to go below deck. This man chosen by God stretched out in a comfortable spot and fell into a peaceful sleep. The man chosen by God just laid himself down to sleep and trusted God his soul to keep. Jonah could calmly sleep in spite of the current dangers around him because the same God he was trusting to keep him safe was the same God controlling the storm.
Suddenly, this man chosen by God awoke as the trembling voice of the terrified captain questioned, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish.” Without fail, the flustered sailors said to each other, “Come, and let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.”
Likewise when they did, the lot fell on that man chosen by God named Jonah. Therefore, as they questioned Jonah, this man chosen by God realized what he must do. The first thing, a man chosen by God in any situation must do is first speak the word of truth. Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”
Promptly, as the truth often does, this marvelous saving revelation terrified them; so someone asked “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” However, what this man chosen by God told them to do, it amazed them even more.
Jonah replied, “I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you. Pick me up and throw me into the sea and it will become calm.” See, the truth that Jonah realized was the calling of a man chosen by God is to lay down his life simply to save someone else. In order for the people in the lifeboat to be saved, the man chosen by God had to get out of the lifeboat.
Therefore, I urge you, my brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy and grace; realize that it is time for the men and women chosen by God to wake up from our American Dream and make a stand. A great storm from our God has encompassed our shore. The salvation of our people depends upon our stand as a living sacrifice because as the men and women chosen by God we are holy and pleasing to God.
Nevertheless, our stand cannot be made inside our racial, economic, political, philosophical, nor denominational lifeboats because the people in those lifeboats are the ones needing help on the tempestuous sea of our crisis ridden times. Our stand must be for the truth because our God’s word is the truth. As the men and women chosen by God, our stand must be behind God because that is our spiritual act of worship.
Therefore, let us resolve not to be conforming any longer to the pattern of this world. However, let us seek to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Then we will be able to test and approve what God’s good, pleasing and perfect will is. God’s will is that we simply get out of our lifeboats and make a stand by using the power He gave us to calm the storm.