"THE NON-PROFIT PROPHET!"
Written and preached by David P. Nolte
A man and his wife were figuring how much money they could save by putting
in a garden. The wife said, "With this garden we'll be able to save over
$300.00 by not purchasing canned vegetables." The husband said, "Yes, and
after buying this new tiller, these garden tools and all these expensive
fertilizers, it only cost us $1500.00 to do it!" That seems to be a pretty
non-profit way to save money! A boy had a paper route. He got up at 4:00
every morning to deliver his papers before school. Finally the month came
to an end and he glumly discovered that he was $64.00 in the hole. Excessive
draws, failure to watch his paper count and people not paying him put him
in arrears. That's a pretty non-profit way to run a business. How frustrated
that husband was; how disappointed that paper boy was. But God must have
some frustrations and disappointments, too, because of some non-profit
workers. Jonah was one of them. Jonah - commissioned by God to preach to
Nineveh wanted no part of it. He fled to Joppa, making himself, for the
moment at least, a non-profit prophet. God had a job for him to do, but
he didn't obey. As you read this chapter notice that everything in it obeys
God: the storm, the sailors, the fish. Everyone and everything - except
Jonah. Look back at the text with me:
NOTE THE AWFUL SIGHT: V2:
Nineveh was the capital of Assyria.
This gentile, pagan nation was wicked to the max. They were violent, cruel,
oppressive and were, significantly, an arch enemy of Israel. Little wonder
Jonah didn't want to go there!
God, however, saw the grossness of
the sin and immorality and violence of that great city. It didn't escape
His notice. The awful sight rose up before Him like an ugly gray cloud.
Every sin of every nation and person still rises up before Him. The sins
of earth are an awful sight in heaven. We may deceive others, we may fool
ourselves, but there is no hiding things from God:
"O LORD, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and
when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out
and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is
on my tongue You know it completely, O LORD."
"The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the
"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered
and laid bare before the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account."
You can't hide things from God! When
a person peels an onion, the odor is obvious; when you run over a skunk
the smell is obvious; when you forget to use your Dial soap, something
becomes obvious - and when we indulge in sin, it is obvious to Him Who
beholds all things. He sees the sins of our world and sends us with the
Talk about being observed without
knowing it. A man parked his Mercedes and a thug came along, and thinking
nobody saw him, decided to steal it. A girl, looking out a second story
window, saw what was happening and called out, "God is watching you!" The
thug stopped, looked around and slunk away, looking skyward. God is watching
the immorality, the corruption, the infidelity, the vices of this world
- and He's sending His workers with His word - let's not be like Jonah
and prove unprofitable.
NOTE THE ABSURD FLIGHT: V3:
God called, Jonah reacted promptly
and decisively: "No way! I don't think so! I want no part of it!" Then
he ran. Notice
He went down to Joppa. Running from
God is always a downhill proposition. It is always degrading to disobey.
He paid his fare. There is always
a price attached to fleeing God's will. And guess who pays it!
He became a non-profit prophet. There
is no good produced when we forsake the Lord and His will for us.
There is a lesson we ought to learn
- and we will learn, perhaps the hard way: You cannot run from God! David
learned that and wrote, Psalms
"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths,
You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far
side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will
hold me fast."
God may be laying His hand on you
for some particular service. He might be calling you to go to a neighbor
or friend or family member. Don't be like Jonah and be non-profit. Don't
try the absurdity of running from God.
Trying to run from God is like a man
who was camping in a national park when he was awakened by a bear trying
to break into his ice chest. The man yelled at the bear, scaring it away
and waking up all the other campers. The man muttered and fumed while he
tore down his campsite. A camper asked, grouchily, "What are you doing?
I's 4:00 in the morning!" He replied, "I'm getting away from these bears!"
He moved about half mile away and pitched his tent again. Guess he thought
that short move put him out of the way of bears. Jonah must have thought
fleeing to Joppa would put him out of God's way, too. Jonah, a non-profit
Jonah was a non profit-prophet. God called, he ran. But is there no comfort
here? Is there no hope for Jonah? Is it "One strike and you're out!"? Is
it "You had your chance and blew it!"? Jonah has disobeyed; he has run
away; he has been cast into the sea. But look at verse 17
"But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside
the fish three days and three nights." In the midst of what would be certain
doom, God delivered him. True, it was an unrequested stay in the Halibut
Hilton - but it was rescue! There is hope for the Jonahs of this world.
God's will may be resisted, His voice unheeded; Consequences come. Storms
upset us. We are non-profit in the scheme of God. But - God is not finished
with us. God has invested in your rescue. God still has a plan for your
life. God still calls you to "go to Ninveh!" What matters today is that
you let God have the rest of your life. What matters is that today you
hear and heed His summons to go where He sends. Before you can go, you
must first come. Come to Jesus today; come for salvation; come for forgiveness;
come for eternal life. And then commit yourself to go - freely, willingly,
and unconditionally wherever He may send.
FINALLY, NOTE THE AWESOME PLIGHT: VV4-12:
God sent a storm to thwart Jonah's
absurd flight, to waken him, to frighten him, to get him out of the boat,
into the fish, back onto dry land and into His will. He would never have
been in storm or the belly of that fish if he'd been in the center of God's
will. But Jonah suffered the consequences of disobedience. What an awesome
There are always consequences to our
choices and actions. And we don't get to determine what those consequences
Consequences to sin are always unpleasant
ones. There may be pain, or shame or deep regret. When we wantonly disobey,
God will send trials. He is not as interested in our comfort as He is in
our character; He's not as concerned about our serenity as He is about
our spiritual safety. So, when we sin, consequences come
To humble us
To make us realize our need of Him
To mature and develop us
To test and prove us
To chasten and correct us
A man was called by God to go to the
mission field. He planned to go, he really did, but became engaged in business
and it was lucrative. His plans for the mission field were tabled and then
cancelled as he prospered. But his business failed, his marriage fell apart
and his children were alienated. Years later, in sad retrospect, he said,
"Down in my heart is a great void. My life has been a failure - both from
the standpoint of the world, and from God's point of view." What an awesome
plight. What a telling soliloquy to a spiritually non-profit life.
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