Today's guest blog comes from Erin Davis. Erin is the founder of Graffiti Ministries, an organization dedicated to addressing the issues of identity, worth, and true beauty in the lives of young women. A popular speaker, author and blogger, Erin has addressed women of all ages nationwide and is passionately committed to sharing God's Truth with others.
I am Jonah.
True, I’ve never spent time in the belly of a whale or experienced the thrill when that whale spit me up onto a beach, but I’ve pulled a Jonah or two during my tenure in girls ministry.
Here’s a quick re-cap of Jonah’s attitude toward ministry.
“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, ‘Arise go to Ninevah, that great city and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.’ But Jonah rise to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord” (Jonah 1:1-3).
Since hindsight is twenty-twenty it is easy to see Jonah’s mistakes. Of course He couldn’t outrun God. He likely knew that on some level. Maybe he was just trying to buy himself some time. Jonah might have come around to his call eventually, but God’s call was urgent and Jonah’s disobedience wasn’t going to fly. Of course, Jonah never could have predicted the wild ways that God would reiterate the call to go and preach to the sinners of Ninevah.
As I’ve been studying Jonah’s story, I’ve realized that Jonah made three mistakes I’ve been known to repeat as I minister.
#1 Jonah wanted to choose who to minister to.
There’s no indication in Scripture that Jonah was opposed to ministry, he was just opposed to ministering to the Ninevites. I’m all for ministering to young women. I get how important it is and I am grateful that God has called me to what I believe to be the front lines of the battle in the church.
But I don’t really want to minister to that girl. The one that continues to give me the cold shoulder no matter how hard I try to get to know her. The one who’s home life is so complicated that I feel completely inadequate to help her. The one who is so boy crazy that she can’t think, talk, or plan for anything else. The one who is annoying. The one who brings her bikini to every single youth trip. The one who is so deeply entrenched in sin that I can’t fathom her becoming a new creation. (She sounds a bit like the Ninevites, now that I think of it).
I want to minister to that girl who loves to have Bible studies, who thinks I am witty, whose problems are simple enough that I can intervene effortlessly.
When God calls me to minister under difficult circumstances, I tend to want to run. Can you relate?