What is enough?
A little more?
A husband that is a little more emotionally available?
A little bit more money to splurge on indulgences?
A family that is a little kinder to each other.
Enough is enough, right?
Then why does my life feel so empty?
Do you ever feel like that? Do you ever feel like there’s a little something missing?
Maybe if I read my Bible more. Or baptize more students. Or pray more.
Maybe if only I was a little more spiritual.
Would that be enough?
Have you ever felt like that?
Tonight’s keynote speaker is Albert Tate with the message: God is Enough.
Albert uses the story of Jonah to illustrate.
Jonah hears from the Lord. Clearly. That in itself is amazing! Jonah heard clearly from God and understand the directions. He went to the harbor, but instead of going to Nineveh like God instructed him to, he headed to Tarshish. I mean, if you’re not going to obey God, why even go to the dock at all. Just stay home.
But he didn’t. I wonder if he thought that this small gesture might be enough. But half-obedience isn’t true obedience. Half-obedience is still disobedience.
So, now Jonah is headed on a boat in the opposite direction and a great storm begins. Everyone on the boat is panicking. They begin praying to this god and that god. Everyone was praying but Jonah. He was asleep below deck. The crew awoke him and begged him to pray to his God.
When you’re non-believing friends are begging you to pray, you know you’re in a mess.
But instead of praying, Jonah told the crew to throw him overboard.
You might think that Jonah is a hero when he asked the crew to throw him overboard. But careful. Jonah doesn’t acknowledge his sin. He doesn’t repent. It’s almost like he would rather die than obey God.
So over the edge he went.
And God provided.
Jonah 1:17 says, “Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”
Have you ever been stuck in a place that you didn’t anticipate being in, don’t know how long you will be there, and certainly don’t know how you’re going to get out?
That’s about how Jonah probably felt.
He prayed while inside the belly of this fish and prayed. Wouldn’t you?
Jonah tells God how overwhelmed he felt. He told God all he could see was the waves. And God let him know that He was in control. God held Jonah in that fish until Jonah was ready to obey.
Then out he was spit onto the beach and this time, Jonah did obey. God went to Ninevah and gave a one line sermon and the people repented!
Don’t you wish your pastor was that good?
And Jonah was mad.
He didn’t want those people to be saved. They were bad people. They should be punished. Destroyed. Jonah was angry that God showed grace to those people. Even though he himself was just shown remarkable grace.
What Can We Learn From Jonah
- Jonah knew the right thing in his head. But he couldn’t rest in his heart. He didn’t want to do it God’s way. He wanted to it his own way. He couldn’t trust God enough to rest.
- Jonah received God’s grace, but was not TRANSFORMED by it. How do we know? Because Jonah could not give grace to others. That’s how we know that we’ve been transformed. When we can give grace to people who do not deserve it. Jonah didn’t want the Ninevite people to be saved. Are there people that we don’t want to be saved?
- You know that God is not enough in your life when you confused God’s embrace with God’s endorsement.One of the worst mistakes we can make is take our giftedness and God’s willingness to use our talents and mistake that for God’s approval for the content of our heart. Just because God is using you does not mean he is pleased with the state of your heart. You can be used by God and still have a foul heart. You can be used by God and still have the wrong motives. That’s not a good thing. We need to be willing to check the motives of our heart.
- The book of Jonah ends in a question mark. We don’t know the outcome of Jonah’s life. He was not willing to rest in God. God was not enough for Jonah. What about for us? Are we only content when things turn out the way WE wanted them to? Do we try to put a question mark where God has put a period. Do we desire to change things, add to things, adapt things or rearrange things when God has already said, “I am enough”.
Let it be enough. Let God be enough.