And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people? (Jonah 4:11)
One of my first priorities every morning is to make my cup of coffee. One Sunday before church, my coffeemaker broke. I panicked. I began brainstorming how to boil coffee grounds in a pot on the stove, like my friend’s grandparents did. But my husband had a solution. His parents live a few houses down from us, so he drove me—pajamas, coffee mug, and all—up the road to get a freshly brewed cup. The scenario demonstrates some interesting things about our priorities. I place high priority on morning coffee—and my husband places high priority on me.
Priorities and value judgments determine how much effort we put into anything. In the book of Jonah, God initiated all the effort. Neither Jonah nor the people of Nineveh did anything to pursue God or earn the opportunity to seek his forgiveness. Instead, God pursued both Jonah and the Assyrians, even after their failures and rejection of him in the past.
In this short conversation, God expressed that his creation matters to him. He valued the wicked and the ignorant, because he had made them, and he had not forgotten them.
Grace places a high priority on people—even the unaware and the uninterested. Contrast Jonah’s value of a temporary commodity versus God’s concern with eternal souls. His grace calls us to be concerned for those within our reach.
Deepen your value of someone by showing favor that wasn’t earned.
Debbie Shaw is a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University and resides in North Carolina with her husband, Lee. She enjoys gardening, painting, reading, and coffee.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.