Summary: God places each of us in our Nineveh: work, school, where we live and like Jonah we cannot see the big picture so we ignore our calling and sail away from our Ninevah - and then the storms.
As you know, years ago when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I had a business on the side cleaning Aquariums. I did ok, I was a young man struggling along with my business and one day I was at my aquarium wholesaler and I ran into a man who was in the same business, except he knew what he was doing. Well we hit it off and went out to lunch and he gave me all kinds of great advice about running an aquarium maintenance business. Of all the advice he gave me the most surprising was this: “The aquarium business is NOT about the fish”.
I said, “What are you talking about, the aquarium business is all about the fish, what else is there?”
So he asked, “When you go into a bar to clean their aquarium, doesn’t the bar tender take you aside and talk to you about what is going on in his life?”
“Yes, of course.”
“And when you go into a dentist’s office doesn’t the receptionist talk to you about her problems?”
“Every place you go to clean an aquarium, isn’t there someone who takes you aside and tells you about their problems and asks for your advice?”
“oh, yes they do…”
“That’s because, it is not about the fish. It is about sitting down and spending time with people. It is about spending five minutes cleaning the aquarium, and twenty five minutes listening to someone’s problems and talking about their suffering. It’s not about the fish. The sooner you learn that, the sooner you will be successful.
Brothers and sisters we need to walk away with two things this morning; First,
The book of Jonah is not about the fish. Yes it is about the fish…but it is not about the fish – it is about you and me, about our spiritual blindness, our spiritual arrogance, our fear of things unknown, and the grace of God available to us, even after we have acted like jerks.
Second, the job you work at, the school you attend, whatever it is you do during the week – that’s not what it is about. The office you are in, the job site you are assigned to, working hard all day to get the job done…as a Christian, that is not what it is all about. It is about relationships, it is about the people’s lives around you, it is about advancing the kingdom of God right where God has placed you.
You are placed where you are in life by God – it is no accident that you rented or purchased the house you are in. It is not by your genius and great skill that you have obtained the position you have at work or volunteered for, or the board you are now serving on….it is by the hand of God. Now, you are there to get the job done, and to get it done well, but all of that in the kingdom of God, is secondary. Your primary function at work, in the neighborhood, at school is to serve those around you in the name of Jesus Christ, and to do whatever God calls on you to do for them. You are the preacher at work through how you live your life; you are the open Bible they see everyday; you may be the only shot they have at seeing the power of Jesus Christ in action. You are Jonah called to your Nineveh.
How many here work with people who are not Christians?