The central conflict in the book of Jonah is Jonah’s disobedience against God’s command.
Angry at the wickedness of the city of Nineveh, God instructs Jonah to deliver a prophecy to the town to change their ways. Conflicted with his feelings toward the city and its people, Jonah disobeys God’s will and flees.
Of course, Jonah’s reluctance and eventual disobedience caused the rest of the story to unfold. As you can see, it took him quite a lot of time to finally come to terms with God’s will and that he must obey, regardless of his personal feelings.
In a way, taking responsibility is the same thing. When we are tasked to do something, we often neglect our duties for a variety of reasons. Whatever the reason, we cannot deny that avoiding responsibilities is something many of us have done.
Nevertheless, such a task never ends up well. For Jonah, he had to endure staying inside a large fish for several days. For us, it may manifest in other ways. For instance, if we fail to care for our bodies, our health deteriorates. If we fail to perform well in school or work, our grades and job status decline. If we forget to water our plants or give them sunshine, they wilt and eventually die.
With these examples in mind, it’s safe to say that God wants us to take responsibility whether we want to or not. Personal growth is rarely an enjoyable task, but you will eventually get to see the fruits of your labor in due time. Much like a farmer who has to wait months to see his harvest, our hard work and effort need time to grow and prosper. We shouldn’t expect Rome to be built in a day, so why should we expect our best selves to come overnight?
by Chad Groen
Author of Jonah: Beyond the Whale