Philippians 3:13-14 ‘Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.’
We should run towards the calling of God in and on our lives. I have always respected the ministry of the late Dr. Myles Munroe. When he began as a young man he had a calling to inspire people in their purpose. He never strayed from this calling and message and even when his life on earth came to an end with a tragic aircraft accident, he was flying towards his calling, to stir people up to fulfill their purpose. Jonah, on the other hand, decided to flee and run away from the Lord.
Jonah 1:3 ‘But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish.
It is interesting to note that running from one’s calling is running from God. He headed to Joppa. Joppa was an ancient port city in Israel. He decided to run to Tarshish. Tarshish, was a place that historians believe was in all likelihood the name of a Phoenician port in Spain.
Tarshish was in all likelihood a coastal holiday destination. It was the opposite in every respect to Nineveh. It was in the opposite direction. Nineveh was to the East and Tarshish was to the West. It had the opposite climate. Nineveh was desert and Tarshish was Mediterranean. It had the opposite intent. Nineveh was work and Tarshish was holiday. It had the opposite response. Nineveh could be hostile and Tarshish would be welcoming. It was the opposite environment. Nineveh represented an environment of responsibility and Tarshish represented a care-free environment. In fact, Tarshish represented the furthest point away from Nineveh, in the then known world.
Jonah wanted to get as far away as possible from what God had called him to do. This was a radical and drastic move to run from his calling and it brought great trouble on Jonah. The truth is that we should never run from our calling, we should instead run towards our calling.
As a young boy growing up in a Pastor’s home, congregational members would often ask me if I was going to be a Pastor like my Dad. In some strange way this drove me away from the ministry and I decided to pursue a different career, until God had dealt with my heart. I had to go through trouble and heart-ache until I came to my senses and committed my life to the calling of God.
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