You have had pity on the plant… and should I not pity Nineveh…? Jonah 4:10-11
The measure of our love is our reaction to problems, whether our own or someone else’s, be they big or small. Jonah lost the plant that had given him shade, and his reaction was extreme irritation. This was the reaction of intense self-love and self-obsession. This is a grievous fault in a preacher such as Jonah, and in his case indicated a return to his former faults which had ruined his life once already. God had changed Jonah by an experience of death and resurrection. But no matter how deep our experience, it never takes away our personal responsibility to maintain the life that God has given us. Jonah exploded with fury and sank into depression at his loss of personal comfort, but had no tears to weep for the eternal destiny of human souls. How we need union with Christ through His death. How we need to abide in His love. The little frustrations of each day are sent by God to teach us the shallowness of our spirituality. If we are truly filled with the love of God, we will not even perceive these minor distractions. We will be too occupied with loving God and those around us, for whom He died. This love is ours, but we must sacrifice self-love, or we will lose it.
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