Today’s post is written by Kathy Brasby.
When Jonah the prophet heard God speak to him, you’d think his spiritual resume might have had some influence on him. The job description of a prophet surely includes something about obeying.
Jonah lived in the nation of Israel about 800 BC. And check out his resume. We know that he was a prophet, an Israelite, the son of Amittai (listing his lineage proved that his Jewish pedigree was intact), and had a wonderful knack for prayer.
He had the gift of eloquence. He wove vivid images and engaging metaphors into a nicely-organized petition.
He probably would have made a great writer. In fact, some scholars think he wrote the book of Jonah.
I hope you’ll take a look at his prayer soon. It’s in Jonah 2.
As you read the prayer, remember his circumstances. After given instructions to give a warning to his people’s mortal enemies, he ran away. But you can’t hide from God and Jonah soon found himself in deep trouble. How exactly does one get oneself out of the belly of a big fish?
So he turned back to God, acknowledging God’s majesty and his own confidence that only God could rescue him from this mess.
He praised God’s power, God’s sovereignty, God’s salvation. Against the backdrop of the pagan sailors who had manned his ship, Jonah sparkled with devotion.
But something was missing from his prayer.
With all the praise and petition, Jonah never got around to repenting of his rebellion.
He asked for compassion and God extended it to him. God gave him a second chance.
And Jonah was angry when God did the same thing for Nineveh. It’s clear from the story that he preached the warning sermon, confident that God would destroy Nineveh. But the people of Nineveh repented and God gave them a second chance, too.
In spite of Jonah’s wonderful resume, it is clear that he did not know the heart of God. While God showed compassion at every turn – to the pagan sailors, to rebellious Jonah, and to wicked Nineveh – Jonah rejected the idea. Jonah craved vengeance while God offered mercy.
As writers, we study our craft so that we can weave vivid images and engaging metaphors into our work. We study marketing skills to form a strong writing resume. We network with authors, editors and agents.
And there’s nothing wrong with those activities.
But we are Christian writers as well.
We have the awesome opportunity to speak for God in our stories and articles and blogs. We are given the chance to point others to God’s compassion and transforming nature.
We can polish our spiritual resume and our craft and our marketing skills. But ultimately, the question for us as Christian writers is this: do we know the heart of God?
Kathy Brasby is the founder of Spunk and Spirit Christian Writers Group. A former journalist, Kathy writes blogs, essays and stories. When not writing, Kathy (along with her family) operates a small hobby farm in northeast Colorado.