I was listening to a message by Perry Noble, Senior Pastor of Newspring Church, the other day and he was talking about young women respecting themselves. He said they needed to remember that they are daughters of God. It made me think. There is a whole self-esteem thing there, but it made me think about the flip-side of the coin. Each person who is far from God is one declaration away from being adopted in too, aren’t they? But how do we see them? Do I see them as a burden to my ministry? Do I see them as pulling down the “spiritual quotient” of our church?
God asked Jonah to go to Ninevah to preach the truth to that community and Jonah refused. It wasn’t until Jonah was overwhelmed with his selfishness that he went. All God needed was Jonah’s willingness to do an amazing work in the hearts of the Ninevites. [sidebar:It reminds me that all we need to do to see successful ministry is to say yes to God. That’s it. Just say yes.] The people fell on their faces in grief and repentance over what they had done. Jonah, meanwhile, had made his way back up on a hillside to wait for God to destroy the city. Don’t we do that sometimes…We think, “I can’t wait for God to blowup those sinners!” We look forward to God sending people to hell. What the heck!
Jonah was sulking about what he thought God should have done. God sends him a vine to cover his head from the sun and then sends a worm to chew through it. Jonah again gets mad because things don’t go his way and God says, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” Jonah didn’t care about what God cared about. Great Leaders Have God’s Heart.
As leaders, we have to see people and circumstances through God’s eyes and with God’s heart. God sees them as creations whom he loves and is saddened by their sin and potential deadly destination. We see them as potential charcoal on God’s coming barbecue south of the border and we can’t wait for them to get theirs. Jonah couldn’t wait to see Ninevah scorch for their misdeeds. We have a lot of Jonah in us at times. We need more of God’s heart.
Charlie Hall wrote a worship song a couple years ago called, “Running with Your Heart” and the lyric that I think of is this: “Feel what you feel, Love what you love, Go where you go, that what we want.” That’s my prayer for all of us at this time in history. If we have learned anything from books like “UnChristian” and “They Like Jesus But Not the Church” we need God’s heart and we need to run with it into our world.