God will do what man can’t do. Is that a stunner? In fact, God will do what man won’t do, and for that I am very grateful. It’s really a privilege to be in the “yoke” with Jesus as through his Spirit he impacts the lives and events of man. Imagine, teaming with God. As I understand it, God is also quite enthused when we catch his vision and partner up with him. Our participation is meaningful to him and I believe honors him, but it is not essential for him to carry out his kingdom purposes.
God has plans for our lives once we submit to his rule. Jeremiah spoke of that in 29:11 saying “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I think that was meant to encourage us and remind us that God has his eye on us and has our best interests at heart. Do you read it that way too?
If that isn’t enough, God, through Paul, in Ephesians 2:10 declares “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We get a little short-changed by the English translation in using the word “handiwork” here which is a shot at the Greek word “poiema” meaning masterpiece, poem or work of art. That’s who you are in Christ, poetry in motion! Does it peak your interest at all to know that God has in advance prepared some “kingdom missions” for you?
In recently reading the short book Jonah, it brought to mind what God commissions us to do and an example of God completing his mission despite one person who was clearly assigned the mission bailing on God. “Go to the great city of Ninevah and preach against it” said God in Jonah 1:2. So Jonah took a ship going the other way and ended up in the belly of a great fish. Our “second chance” God rescues Jonah, repeats the mission statement to him verbatim and Jonah, head low and dragging his feet, ambled into Ninevah and half-heartedly delivers the proclamation (Jonah 3:4) that in “forty more days Ninevah will be overturned.” Jonah was hoping they would perish. Notice in Jonah’s declaration that he is not appealing to them to repent. But they did.
These were some very evil people, fierce and violent in their pagan ways. An unreachable people group. This was “mission impossible.” Except that God was in the mission and changed the heart of their king and people and he turned away his wrath by his compassion. As for Jonah, he was angry and sulked and pleaded to die. So unlike his God, our God.
The point of sharing this about Jonah is really pretty simple. It has to be, coming from me. God has the desire to save people from their rebellion against him and have them submit to him and enjoy him forever. This was Jesus’ over-arching mission and he has handed the baton to us as his ambassadors. (please see Matthew 28:19-20 and 2 Cor. 5:18-20) If you read these verses you will find little wiggle room about God’s intentions for you and I. “The plans I have for you.” The “good works which God, in advance, prepared for us to do.” Since God is in the mission with us to turn the hearts of even the least “humanly” likely, and this includes some of the folks in our circles of relationships, how will you and I respond to the mission of being “sent” like our friend Jonah? Think About It.