(This week’s devotions are based on Sunday’s message: Grace for All…Grace Upsets- LISTEN HERE)
Jonah 4:10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”
Should the Lord have concern?
The book of Jonah ends with this question the Lord poses to Jonah.
Jonah was concerned about the vine that he neither planted nor made it grow, but was upset when it died.
The Lord was concerned with the salvation of Nineveh…all of them.
What’s the point?
It’s easy to get concerned about the blessings the Lord chooses to give and fail to give attention to the thing that really matters…the salvation of souls.
What are the vines or blessings in disguise that have popped up in your life over even the first six months of this year?
I will let you answer that question, because the next question perhaps is more important. Have those blessings taken your attention away from what is most important…your relationship and your family’s relationship with the Lord? Have those blessings prevented you from engaging in spiritual activities that strengthen your faith or that of those around you?
Would you be upset if those blessings were gone? Probably, right? Blessed with a promotion and raise…that’s great…only to have a few weeks later the company downsize and find yourself unemployed. Blessed with health and vitality that allows you to run a marathon or play hard with your grandchildren…only to have a few weeks later a diagnosis of a terminal illness. Blessed with a friendship that came out of nowhere and enjoying time with that person…only to have a job transfer separate you from them.
It’s easy to get upset at God when the blessings he allows in our life drift away.
But God hasn’t forgotten you or cursed you. Perhaps…perhaps…like Jonah he removes the blessing of the “vine” to get Jonah to focus on the bigger purpose and plan of the Lord: The salvation of souls.
Jonah was mad that the Lord spared Nineveh. The Lord was overjoyed that the people of Nineveh responded to the message of Jonah. The angels were partying in heaven because people were turning from sin to their Savior.
The vine was temporary. The conversion of hearts was eternal.
Jonah was focused on the temporary. The Lord was focused on the eternal.
The Lord removed the temporary to help JOnah focus on what was eternal.
The Lord can do the same in our lives today.
So when the vine withers in your life, don’t get angry like Jonah. Be glad that while the little things in life are also a concern for the Lord (after all he allowed the vine to grow), he is much more interested in the things that impact lives for eternity: the salvation of souls.
So enjoy the little blessings. But don’t get upset when they are gone because the Lord is simply reminding you that the biggest blessing he gives is not one that is temporary, but that which is eternal.
Apply: What temporary blessing do you have and enjoy that perhaps is distracting you from nurturing the eternal relationship you have with Jesus?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your gifts of grace that bring blessing to my earthly life. When you choose to remove them, forgive me for getting upset and rather point my heart to what truly matters and lasts forever: the salvation of my soul. AMEN.