The word of the Lord was addressed to Jonah: “Up!” he said, “Go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach to them as I told you to.” Jonah set out and went to Nineveh in obedience to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was a city great beyond compare: it took three days to cross it. Jonah went on into the city, making a day’s journey. He preached in these words, “Only forty days more and Nineveh is going to be destroyed.” And the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least. The news reached the king of Nineveh, who rose from the throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth and sat down in ashes. A proclamation was then promulgated throughout Nineveh, by decree of the king and his ministers, as follows: “Men and beasts, herds and flocks, are to taste nothing; they must not eat, they must not drink water. All are to put on sackcloth and call on God with all their might; and let everyone renounce his evil behaviour and the wicked things he has done. Who knows if God will not change his mind and relent, if he will not renounce his burning wrath, so that we do not perish?” God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behaviour. And God relented: he did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened.
The crowds got even bigger and Jesus addressed them. “This is a wicked generation; it is asking for a sign. The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. On Judgement day the Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon ; and there is something greater than Solomon here. On Judgement day, the men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation and condemn them, because when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here.”
There is a story of a man named John (I just like the name). John was a faithful Christian but he had one problem, one vice in his character, that, try as he might, he could not seem to get rid of. He prayed fervently and daily, asking God that this vice may be taken away from him, so that he may be holy as God is holy.
One day, Jesus appeared to John in a vision. He told John of a huge boulder lying in a forest near where John stayed. Jesus told John to go to the boulder and push it with all his might. When the vision ended, John did exactly what he was told. He went into the forest, found the boulder just as he had been shown. And John leant his weight against it and pushed with all his might. But nothing happened. The boulder didn’t even budge. And John was disappointed. It was late, so he decided to go home and try again the next day.
The next day, he went to the boulder again and pushed, and he pushed, and he pushed. But still nothing happened. After many days of pushing the boulder and not moving it, John brought this matter to prayer. “Why, Lord?” he asked. “Why can’t I move the boulder?”
Jesus appeared to John again in another vision and the Lord said, “I never asked you to move the boulder. All I asked of you is that you push it with all your might.”
And John finally understood. It was not so important for John to be rid of his vice, but it was more important that John made efforts to renounce this vice. Whether he succeeded or not was not important. What was important was that he tried.
Dear Jesus, help us try to be as holy as we can be, and as free from sin as we can be. Help us to give it our all every time, and we trust that the rest will be done according to your will. Amen.
Give Thanks to the Lord for: Perseverance.