Today’s WORD (Text)               Jonah 3:1-5, 10

1/ The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, 2/ “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” 3/ So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. 4/ Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5/ And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.

10/ When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them, and he did not do it.


Today’s Witness

Perhaps our contemporary generation of messengers should consciously spend more time with the ancient prophets, reading their call stories, the accounts of God commissioning them from one assignment to another, and the words God charged them to speak.  See Jonah’s resistance, for example, avoiding God’s assignment the first time (Chapter 1), and then being so convicted and compelled by God’s righteous authority that he obeyed God’s directives the second time. So many readers are distracted by the literary and historical accounts of Jonah’s misfortune (Chapter 2) that their distraction leads to dismissal, followed by a failure to grasp the spiritual meaning for us today. 

Jonah teaches important lessons for all those commissioned to proclaim God’s words.  At times, the holy God does indeed send us on hard assignments.  Sometimes, the people we are sent to are intimidating, or the words of the Lord are frightening.  Often, we are tempted to avoid speaking inconvenient truth to powerful people.  Ultimately, nothing good comes of disobeying God’s call on our lives. If we will learn a lesson from the hardships of disobedience, God may call and send us again. Finally, if we will obey God’s call, God can use us in unexpected ways, and bring about unexpected results.

Today’s Invitation

Is there any place the Spirit is leading you to where you don’t want to go?  Is there any word the Spirit is leading you to give that you don’t want to say? How will you reposition yourself in response to the Spirit’s leading?

Today’s Prayer

Dear God, we confess that the Gospel ministry often challenges us in inconvenient ways. Often, you move us to take actions or proclaim words that make others feel uneasy, and that we ourselves are frightened to do or speak. Often you lead us to venues where there are intimidating factors.  Matters not that it is a small or large destination, or that the message is piercing, we are often tempted to flee in a different direction, or to say different words. Lord, grant us the courage to declare your truth.  In these trying times, teach us to discern what your Spirit will have us say, to see clearly what you want us to do, and to journey boldly wherever you want us to go.  Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.

The Passionary Intention

Today, I choose to live my life with passion.  Today, I intend to follow Christ more nearly, love more dearly and incarnate God’s grace more clearly by asking myself three questions:

  • Where will I follow Christ today?
  • To whom shall I demonstrate Jesus’ love and justice today?
  • How can I play my part in practicing the presence of Christ, right here, right now?


PASSIONARY – A Passionary exhibits and extends the grace of God with everyone everywhere.

The Passionary Movement Word and Witness devotion is published weekdays (Monday – Friday).  Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, Executive Director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies is the author of today’s devotion.

To read more Word & Witness devotions, click here

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