Jonah said, “Yes, my anger is good—even to the point of death!”
But the Lord said, “You ‘pitied’ the shrub, for which you didn’t work and which you didn’t raise; it grew in a night and perished in a night. Yet for my part, can’t I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than one hundred twenty thousand people who can’t tell their right hand from their left, and also many animals?”
The story of Jonah does not have a happy ending. Jonah is pouting about God’s mercy to Nineveh. He had been pouting under a shrub that God provided, but God made it wither, and Jonah misses it. God wants to know why Jonah could pity a shrub but not thousands of people and animals, who were in danger of destruction before Jonah proclaimed their need to change. What’s up with that, Jonah?
We don’t get an answer to that. We are left with a question mark, not a period. And I think we are meant to ponder what we give care to in our own lives: Are we upset when our cable is out, but not when our neighbor has no food? Do we get put out when our internet is slow, but not when children in our community have no computer to keep up with school at home?
Questions are sometimes more helpful than answers!
O God, regulate where I pour out energy I pray! Let me care about what you care about, and stop caring about worthless things. Direct the affections of my heart to your gospel’s priorities. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Take stock of your neighbors. Is there one of your neighbors you suspect may be needing some help with something? Offer that help today.
Notice the passage says that God cared for the animals in Nineveh, too. Spend some time together giving a little extra TLC to a furry friend today.