The big picture story in the Book of Jonah is about loving God and loving your neighbor, but that love comes from the unlikeliest of characters. God’s prophet, Jonah, runs away from the call to love his neighbors, the Ninevites, by boarding a ship headed for the edge of the world crewed by sailors who did not share his religious, political, or social ideology. These sailors, even though they share little in common with Jonah, wind up demonstrating how to love your neighbor when they work for Jonah’s rescue and stand in solidarity with Jonah through the storm. Even though Jonah ends up thrown into the sea, the crew’s efforts to save him and their worship of the God of Israel are examples of mercy and love to this runaway prophet. The Bible is full of God using those on the “outside” to demonstrate his purposes to this on the “inside” (think of Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan). As you love the neighbors around you this week, be mindful and aware that God may be using them to speak to you instead of the other way around.
About the Author
Isaac Gaff is the Managing Director of Worship and Creative Arts at Calvary UMC