Big Fish…Big Attitude – Bothered by Grace

 

But Jonah thought this was utterly wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Come on, Lord! Wasn’t this precisely my point when I was back in my own land? This is why I fled to Tarshish earlier! I know that you are a merciful and compassionate God, very patient, full of faithful love, and willing not to destroy. At this point, Lord, you may as well take my life from me, because it would be better for me to die than to live.”

The Lord responded, “Is your anger a good thing?” But Jonah went out from the city and sat down east of the city. There he made himself a hut and sat under it, in the shade, to see what would happen to the city (Jonah 4:1-5, Common English Bible).

One more time and then we will move on. If you would have asked me a few days ago I would have told you I would be on this passage one day. That being said, every time I have written a post on this text that post has led to another. We will see what happens today.

This text has Jonah throwing a bit of a temper tantrum.  As we all know, he didn’t want to go to Nineveh and ran the other way to Tarshish. He got thrown over the side of the boat he was on during bad weather, eaten by a giant fish, regurgitated on the beach and then went around telling Nineveh that God was going to destroy the city. The citizens and their king repent and pray and God decides not to destroy them. What does Jonah do? He pouts. He knew God was loving and forgiving and knew this would happen so he is upset that God put him through all this and then God didn’t follow through on the threat.

It brings to mind a question. Why is it that so many of us, so much of the time, have so little interest in God bestowing grace on other people? What God is doing in the lesson for Nineveh is grace. Of that, there should be no doubt. And for his part, Jonah would rather see them destroyed.

Think about Jesus’ parable of the workers in the field. At the end of the day, when it was time to settle up with the workers, those who had been in the field all day were angry because the owner paid everyone the same amount, even those who had only worked in the field for an hour. They are angry over grace.

We see this happening around us and it happens a lot. How can God forgive that person? There is an old joke. A person makes a profession of faith shortly before death, so many are far from happy to find out this person is as worthy as any of us to gain eternal life in Jesus Christ. In other words, we are bothered because someone received God’s grace they didn’t deserve.

I say this. Praise God they did. Praise God they did because none of us are worthy of God’s grace. And the good news is, God gives it to us anyway.

Oh, and I didn’t feel inspired again by this text so I think tomorrow we will indeed be moving on.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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