The Reluctant Missionary

David Bast

READ : Jonah 1:4-10

I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land. (v. 9)

Of course Jonah should have known he could never run away from God. But that didn’t stop him (or countless others) from trying. The story of his attempted escape is a wonderful illustration not only of the power of God but also of what I can only conclude is God’s sense of humor. Notice how everyone and everything in this whole experience serves the ultimate purpose of God. Jonah, the sailors, the storm, the fish—all in one way or another are agents whom God uses to accomplish his will.

God’s will for Jonah is that he must bear witness to him. God called Jonah to preach his word to the world. Jonah may have been history’s most reluctant missionary but preach he would, whether willingly or not. If he refused to preach to the Ninevites, then God arranged for him to preach to the sailors. So Jonah became an involuntary evangelist of the ship’s crew. “What have you done?” they asked him; “Who are you?” He told them, and his answer was a witness to them about the real God, the God who made the sea and the land.

God is “no respecter of persons,” as the Bible says. God doesn’t discriminate. He doesn’t prefer one nationality or race to another. God loves all groups and classes of people (even sailors!). His plan is to reach out to all of them with his saving word.


Whether reluctantly or eagerly, Lord, let me take part in your plan.