Image credit: hlmorris.com
I’ve always loved the story of Jonah and the fish (Jonah 1). My imagination has always been quite vivid and as a child when this story was being told to me I could quite clearly see the inside of that big fish. I imagined that if I put my hand out I could feel the cold, wet sliminess of the fish’s stomach. I would close my eyes and I knew just how dark, how frightening, how alone Jonah felt in that big belly. I would pretend to scream and I swear I could hear the echo of my voice inside that belly. Problem is, I just never connected Jonah’s story with me and it wasn’t until I was an adult that I finally made a personal connection to what Jonah had gone through. I had to find myself in that cold, dark place before I could begin to understand how Jonah had felt. I tried to put God on hold for my convenience and discovered what it was like to feel alone and afraid.
Jonah had turned his back on God and for some reason he thought he could run far away and escape his calling ( For God’s gifts and His calling are irrevocable. Romans 11:29). Does that sound familiar? Yeah, it should! As Christians we are all of us called into God’s service. His call to service is different for each of us. Some of us have been called to be evangelists, teachers, and preachers (It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be preachers and teachers,… Ephesians 4:11), but there are so many other different ways to serve Him (There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6) and each service is important. Any and all gifts that you have can be used to serve Him (We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Romans 12:6-8). Can you play a guitar or sing? Do you work well with teens, children or babies? Perhaps, if you’re strange like me, you enjoy paperwork and answering telephones. Whatever talent or gift you have can be used for His service (Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10).
We’ve all been called and we must all respond. Some have gladly said, “Yes Lord, here I am. Send me!” While others, like Jonah have said, “Yeah right, I don’t think so!”, and have run in the opposite direction of His will, and still others have responded with, “Yes God, but you‘re gonna have to wait until I have some time to spare.” And like Jonah they will discover that a life without God and Christ in it will be like it was in the belly of that big fish. Cold, dark, and lonely.
The awesome thing is that God is the God of second chances and although it may take us a while to finally get it right we can turn around and head back towards God’s will. It can be done. I should know.
Right now I have to say “thank you” to those that have responded with joy to God’s calling in their lives and on their hearts. My brother Albert, who serves as pastor of Sent By Ravens. Jamin and his wife, Katie who serve as youth leaders, Baritt who’s worship leader, Debbie who is in charge of a myriad of things and the many others who serve in the music ministry, missions planning, prayer ministry, collecting tithes, bringing treats on Sundays, carrying equipment into and then later back out of the rented space we’re meeting in now and those that offer their homes for prayer meetings during the week. There are way too many to name, but needless to say their service has blessed our church mightily.
Now it’s your turn. Let God know that you’re available. Stand tall and tell Him, “Here I am Lord, send me!” (Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here I am, send me!” Isaiah 6:8), and prepare yourself as you begin the most amazing, exciting adventure of your life. I’m not saying that it’s going to be an easy, smooth ride, but oh will it be worth every second!
Don’t you think it’s time for that big, old fish to spit you back up into the light of God’s love?
How has God called you to serve? How will you respond to His call?
God’s blessings to all of you,
Elizena (Alice) Arellano