Agendas and expectation

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Each of us has our own agendas.

A wise Christian sister said that prior to my vision quest to Cambodia earlier this year.

It is true.  When it comes to serving God, we have expectations on what we might view as the right way.  God’s way of doing things.  And sometimes, our motives, at times we might consider as pure and noble, can be clouded with pride, discord and our own insecurities.  When things don’t act the way we desire, we become upset and even bitter.  Toward ourselves, toward each other and toward God.

I am once reminded of Jonah.  After swallowing up by the big fish, he was released on the shore and went to Ninevah to do what he should have done in the beginning.  After ‘preaching’, using this term loosely as he only spoke a few words (Jonah 3:4), he went out of the city (4:5) and expected God to rain down brimstone and fire to smite these ‘heathens’.

Instead, God did none of that.  God even gave a vine to to shelter Jonah from the scorching sun (4:7).  God also sent a worm to killed the vine (4:8).  Now Jonah wanted to die.  He was angry and upset.  He was so angry he wanted to die.

It is at this point God reveals Jonah’s heart.  It shows, Jonah, a servant of God, his own agenda and his expectation of God is so vastly different than who God is.

I am sure in Jonah’s head, or his concept of God’s justice makes sense.  After all, doesn’t God hates sin and wickedness? Of course.  Isn’t God a just God?  Indeed.  Surely, He would not stand idle by against His people’s enemies……

…and this is precisely where God’s Grace shines brightly.  He cares for the one hundred and twenty thousand, those who can’t tell right from wrong.  God has His agenda and He expects His servants to obey them….not the other way around.

But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” 

“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” 

But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

Jonah 4:9-10

I am reminded of myself and my past experiences…had I ever expected God to punish someone?  When something bad happen to someone, in my heart am I rejoicing, ‘yay, this is God’s deliverance at work’?  And when the path of reconciliation is appearing before me, is my heart harden and bitter with the outcome?

All these emotions and thoughts are just a form of pride.  Surely I can say and I probably say, I am not prideful. I am a great Christian because I ______ (go to seminary, serve in church, read the Bible, pray, do devotion, work hard, don’t drink swear watch porn take drugs…etc.) and the question I asked myself is…’if I am not prideful, how come I not embrace reconciliation and try to hinder it?

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By Cliff

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