By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:2-3
In the business districts of some of our large cities there are times the fastest way to get a message to another location is by using a courier.
A courier was what a lawyer needed to deliver some contracts to another firm five blocks away. Necessity dictated those contracts be there before closing time, less than an hour later. Unfortunately, no couriers were available and all remaining office personnel were needed at their posts.
That was when the lawyer remembered the man outside of the building. The scruffy-looking fellow had been there for two weeks. The card in front of him said he was hungry.
The lawyer raced out to the man and offered him $50 to deliver the contracts. Having heard the offer, the unemployed fellow took a deep breath, stood up straight, and made his offended reply: "Sir, I sit here to beg, not to deliver contracts!"
Now there are a lot of legitimate reasons to be unemployed. You may be unemployed because your job has been taken over by a machine, or because your company moved, or because you are no longer qualified to do a job, which has been redefined.
But not wanting to be employed should never be considered to be legitimate.
That was something Jonah found out. When God said, "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it" (see Jonah 1:1-3), Jonah went the other way because he wanted to remain unemployed.
You know the rest of the story and you remember when "the Word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time" (see Jonah 3:1-3), Jonah obeyed and went.
So, what is your reaction when the Lord gives you a job to do? Would you, like Jonah -- like our beggar -- prefer to remain in the ranks of the unemployed? Certainly, it is easier. It is more comfortable and convenient.
But it is not God-pleasing.
Can you imagine your future if Jesus had adopted such an attitude? What would our eternity be if Jesus had said, "No, thank You!" when the Father told Him to become a Man, so He might live, suffer and die to save sinful humanity?
Thankfully, Jesus said, "Yes," and He accomplished all that was necessary to save us. Now it is our turn to say "Yes" to God's commands -- not because we have to, not because we need to, not even because it's the right thing to do.
Christians obey God's commands because they can't help themselves. It's true! Gladly, willingly, cheerfully, we obey because it pleases the Lord who loves us so very much.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, Jesus gave Himself for me. May I who have been redeemed by His great love, live for Him. This I ask in the Redeemer's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries