The Blessing of an Unwanted Assignmentby Cynthia Jennings on June 2, 2021
If you’ve ever tried to ignore the Lord’s commands or silence the Holy Spirit’s conviction, you’ve probably learned the same lesson Jonah did.
The assignment given to Jonah wasn’t a pleasant one. God spoke to the prophet Jonah instructing him to go to another country and preach to the city of Nineveh, but the prophet refused. Jonah disliked God’s instructions and instead of obeying, he attempted to avoid the unwanted assignment by running away.
Are you like Jonah running from God’s assignment? How do you respond when God gives you a task to accomplish?
Rebellion toward our heavenly Father often takes one of two forms: a bold outright refusal to obey His instructions or a more passive approach of quietly pursuing our own agenda while disregarding biblical commands we don’t like.
When God gives us an unwelcome assignment, we must accept it. (Jonah 1:1-2). An unwelcome assignment makes us feel uncomfortable because it usually involves risk or danger. But when God gives you an assignment, even when it looks impossible, He will ALWAYS give you the ability to complete the assignment. That means we must trust Him in a greater way than ever before.
Jonah didn’t want the assignment because he was instructed to go to Nineveh a large city of about 600,000 people, and it was very wicked (Jonah 1:2). The Ninevites were extremely cruel. Their cruelty became known throughout the world, and everyone in Israel was afraid of them including Jonah.
Our comfort zone is the greatest enemy to obeying God. Thus, when God gives us an assignment, our answer is determined by the scale of our comfortableness.
Jonah knew with certainty what the Lord wanted him to do. We oftentimes, know for certain what the Lord wants us to do. Yet we say, “I know what I ought to be doing, but I’m just not ready yet.”
When it’s an assignment God wants us to do, we question if it’s really God. But when it’s an assignment we want we are 100% sure it’s God…..hmmmm…. something to ponder.
When we run from God, we always pay a price. The cost of disobedience is far greater than the cost of obedience. Like Jonah, being disobedience and running from God cost us our peace of mind, and loss of joy which could lead to hopelessness (Psalm 16:11).
The purpose of an assignment from God is to serve other people. Jonah’s assignment was for the benefit of Nineveh. When God’s guidance was rejected, not only do the people Jonah was called to serve languish, but the people surrounding him suffer. Regardless of how uncomfortable the assignment may be, we must learn to accept that we are given an assignment as servants of God so that God is glorified in and through us.
Although Jonah initially refused to accept God’s assignment, in the end his faithfulness to God overcomes his disobedience resulting in blessings for his adversaries.
Eventually he does warn Nineveh, and to his surprise they respond passionately to his message. The enter city turned from their evil ways and the violence that is in their hands (Jonah 3:5b; 3:8).
“The people of Nineveh believed God (Jonah 3:5a), and “when God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it” (Jonah 3:10).
While on the ship Jonah sacrifices himself for the sake of his shipmates. Jonah acknowledges, “I worship the Lord, the God of heaven” (Jonah 1:9). As a result, they are saved from the storm, and moreover, they become followers of the Lord. “The men feared the Lord even more, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows” (Jonah 1:16).
Are you willing to put fear, self, doubt, and being uncomfortable aside to accept the unwelcome unwanted assignment from God? Your sacrifice and acceptance of this assignment can be the difference between the calamity in someone’s life or the blessing of them accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
PEARLStoPONDER: What unwanted assignment are you running from?
Suggested reading---Jonah 1-4