Like Jonah, we know that God is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love. The struggle comes when we realize that we don’t reflect those same things when it comes to uncomfortable situations that we face. Is there anyone in your everyday life that you struggle to wish the best for? Is there someone that you avoid so that you don’t have to interact with them? Take a moment to read over 1 Peter 4:8. Pray for that difficult person or persons that the loving compassion you choose to show them will point them to God. Make efforts this week to show them loving compassion with God as your guide.
As we discover the story of Jonah, we see him waiting for Nineveh to fall and relaxing under the shade of a leafy plant that is slowly being chewed up a worm. In Chapter 4, verse 10, God reminds Jonah that he did not plant the seed or make it grow into the shade he’s enjoying. He wants Jonah to think about what’s more important to him—his personal comfort or a world out there that’s hurting. Take some time to read and meditate on Jonah 4:10-11. Then answer that same question in light of your point of view. In closing, pray for a heart that continually uses awareness and action to support those hurting in this world.
In his infamous “Man In The Arena” quote, Theodore Roosevelt reminds us that it is not the critic who counts. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. God may be leading you to do bold new things that will cause you to be vulnerable and brave. The good news is that He isn’t leaving you alone while you make those steps into the arena—He is right beside you, cheering and coaching you on. Be encouraged today by the words found in Galatians 1:10. As you create some space to talk to God in prayer, allow Him to give you the courage and confidence to follow where He is leading you.
Matthew 24:40 reminds us to keep our eyes, ears, and hands open to support the least of these. The practical ways Jesus pointed us toward include: feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, and visiting the prisoner. Is there one of these areas where you know you have the means to move forward and make a difference for someone in need? Take a look at your calendar and plan out some times and ways you can incorporate these ideas into the coming days. Pray that God would give you the determination to make them happen.
Got any plans for the weekend ahead? Why not invite someone to come along and join the fun? It’s easy for us to lean on busy-ness to keep us from getting up close with others. That prevents us from building authentic relationships with people who need to hear our stories and who need their stories to be heard. As you take a moment to read over Galatians 6:2, think and pray about someone you can connect with this weekend to support with friendship and encouragement. Remember, we can’t know what each other’s burdens are if we don’t know each other.
TALK IT OVER
- What’s your favorite way to relax on a hot Summer day?
- What are three things you could never live without?
- Why do you think Jonah had such a difficult time accepting a redemptive end for the Ninevites?
- Who is someone that you often go to in order to share vulnerable struggles?
- When was the last time you shared something vulnerable with a trusted friend/leader?
- Read over Jonah 4:10-11. How does this verse speak to your personal life?
- Who is someone that doesn’t know Jesus that you could support?
- Who is someone in your workplace that you could support?
- Who is someone at our church that you could support?