In our study of this “minor” prophet Jonah (minor in the sense of the shortness of the book, not a reference to its importance), we saw that chapter one could be entitled “Jonah’s Predicament.” Chapter two (his prayer) could be labeled “Jonah’s Prayer.” Our chapter three could be titled “Jonah’s Preaching.”
Preaching is an interesting — and challenging — activity. I have the luxury of spending most of the week working on my one sermon. I thoroughly enjoy studying God’s Word and asking the Lord to guide me so that what I say in those 40 minutes or so will be what the congregation needs to hear.
In chapter three we read that “the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time . . .” God is patient with His servant and repeats His orders: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Those three elements — a calling, an audience, and a message — comprise the preacher’s challenge. Some preach that maybe are not called; sometimes audiences don’t listen; and the message might be compromised by the preacher himself!
There is a great need for great preaching today. If you are a preacher, do your very best! If you are not, your very life is a message which is preached to an audience that isn’t sitting in pews on Sunday morning. Do your best as well! (to be continued)