Friday, January 20, 2012

Devotional 1-20-12

Livin’ In the Belly of a Big Fish
One of the lectionary passages for this week is in Jonah. I love Jonah…I am Jonah. He/I know what to do, we understand the message and yet…not gonna do it.

We recently purchased a new appliance for our home. An appliance large enough that even with the seats down in the minivan, needed to be delivered. The clerk told us that an automated system would call my designated number and advise us of the ‘delivery window’. Well hey, that’s good news, right? No more waiting around from 8A to 6P for someone to show up. I should have suspected trouble when the call did come and the computer generated voice announced that my TWO hour delivery window was from four o’clock PM to eight o’clock PM. I was no math major but it did not take a whole lot of brain power to pick up that error. Four PM rolls around and nothing. Five – nothing. Six – nothing. Seven – nothing. At eight I called. Still in possession of my composure, I asked the person at the other end of the 800 number about the status of my delivery. I was informed that I was number 13 and the truck was on number six. I felt the glue slipping. I was about to come unhinged. “You mean I have waited here for the four hours of my two hour window and no one could bother to call me with an update?” I was assured that someone would call me right away. No return call. Nine – nothing. Ten – nothing. At 10:15 I called back. I’ll have to say I wasn’t obnoxious, but I was certainly belligerent. The call at 10:45 found me in no better shape. When the fourth call ended, Kim said, “It’s not their fault, they can’t control the truck.” Not what I wanted to hear! I was in a mood, and I wanted my delivery. With a birthday just around the corner, anyone watching would have guessed that I was going on five not 50. The only thing missing was me stomping my little feet and promising to hold my breath until I got my way. More calls, more angst, more raised voice and more unkind lip service from me.

Jonah knew what he had to do, and he didn’t want to do it. He wound up in the belly of a big fish. We wrestle with the Ten Commandments; is it seven thou shalt nots and three thou shalts or seven shalts and three nots? Jesus made it simple; Love God, Love your neighbor. That night on the phone I felt like I had turned from what I knew I should be doing, how I should be acting and landed smack dab in the fish >> and that stinks. I know that I can’t un-ring the bell from that night. There’s no way to track down the people who got to “deal” with me. But I also know that I’ll get spit up on shore. That God will dust me off and set me on the right path – again. Grace is an amazing thing.

I pray that the next time I/we are in a situation and are ready to strike that we smell fish and God and our neighbor.
Steve Matthews

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