Simple...or profound? (or both!)
Jonah was a runaway, a grump, selfish, resentful and cowardly. Yet Jonah was set a high bar, a high bar that remained - Jonah is a story of high call, high faith.
It’s so easy to have low hopes for our school leavers’ uni lives – that they’ll still like God in four years and find Christian friends who’ll keep them going. Harsh to call these low hopes?
I think they can be high hopes if teamed with a vision to see them comfort the broken, make mates who don’t know Jesus, see those mates accept Jesus, be baptised, and go on to introduce their mates to Jesus too! Alongside this sits a longing to see them excel in their studies, live lives of integrity and then launch off into life as working men and women for Christ. Too high a call for our young people? No – they are loved by God, and chosen by him to be his ambassadors.
A high call is perfectly appropriate.
God gave Jonah a high call – go somewhere you don’t want to go and give a harsh message to people who don’t care. God’s high call for your young people is go somewhere they want to go (mostly) and take a message of hope to people who are rarely (but sometimes) aggressive in their rejection of it, and see some of them turn to him. Is this too high a call for our young people? No – they are loved by God, and chosen by him to be his ambassadors. A high call is perfectly appropriate. Let’s not set low expectations for these missionaries in our care. Let’s be willing to encourage them towards greater things than just surviving. It's a high call.
Jonah wimped out, yet throughout his rebellion God’s plan remained the same. He didn’t give the job to someone else. He didn’t lower the bar for Jonah. How easily do we give up and accept defeat when young people slip up? Do we then expect God to have a less exciting, lower bar call for them because they have messed up? Let’s have faith that for God the call is still the same, he still has great plans for them to be part of.
May you help your young people to own that call this year and may you have grace and faith yourself to acknowledge God’s perseverance throughout their stumbles and slips.
(This came out of a letter (well, an email) I wrote to the legendary youth workers I am in email contact with, and as I wrote I thought ‘I want to share this wider’. If you want to get these emails of delight, just let me know!)