The LORD replied, "Have you any right to be angry?" Jonah 4:4
Jonah was angry because a shading plant withered, but he had no feeling about the lives of more than 120,000 Ninevites.
Today many express impatience and anger over those who are poor and ill-equipped for gainful employment. Such angry reactions usually have to do with government programs of relief at taxpayers' expense. We are tempted to easily dismiss feelings of sympathy for the plight of the poor and disadvantaged by judging them en masse as undeserving of social welfare.
God's question to Jonah can also be directed to us. It's a question that stimulates self-examination and directs attention to God's mercy and compassion for all people. Are the poor in our society in need of God's mercy and our compassion? Are not the sins of greed, prejudice, racism, unfairness, and injustice largely responsible for these problems?
Are we justified in our anger over the failures and troubles of our fellow human beings? Our anger does not help them or us. How much better for us all if we express a Christlike compassion and dedicate ourselves to constructive action to bring deliverance to people ensnared in such dehumanizing situations! What a joy then to also share with them the saving Gospel of forgiveness in Christ!
PRAYER: Father, in Christ strengthen our ministry to the poor; in Jesus' name. Amen.
(Devotions from "The Abundant Life" copyright 1998, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time e-mailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)