Jonah 1: 11-16
verses 11-13 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.“ Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before.
This scene from the book of Jonah really makes me think. The sailors are convinced Jonah knows what they should do, and they know this comes directly from God. This speaks to their faith, and their belief in the sovereignty of God. However, they have compassion for Jonah, and try to do what they believe is the right thing. They try to row him back to land. But they are ultimately convinced to throw him overboard, and the sea becomes quiet. These sailors know now who and what saved them. God saw their compassion and their obedience. I wonder what happens to them later. Do they feel guilty for “killing” Jonah? This last part bothers me, in that the men might believe forever they killed a prophet. God also saw their compassion and their instinctive attempt to do the right thing. Like Pastor Gil says, God is interested in what is in our heart. The sailors‘ compassion for him may be the reason Jonah lived at all.
Holy Lord, you ask us to be compassionate to others, even when it puts us at some risk. Like the sailors with Jonah, help me to make decisions which honor you. Help me to hold compassion for others in my heart. This is obedience. Amen