In the story of Jonah, the Bible account tells of God giving a command for Jonah to "cry;' unto Nineveh. Rather than obeying God's command, Jonah boarded a ship to Tarshish in an attempt to flee from the presence of Jehovah. Of course, the story continues to tell of the storm that occurred and how that Jonah was swallowed by a large fish after the sailors cast him overboard. After being vomited out on dry land, Jonah went to Nineveh and preached.
The New Testament records the law under which we live and teaches us that we are responsible for all our abilities (Matt. 25:14-30, esp. v. 15; 1 Cor. 4:1-2). There are many with the ability to preach, lead singing, teach classes, etc. who refuse to use their abilities and thus, like Jonah, run from their duty.
To those guilty of running from responsibility, let this advice be given: Do not depend upon God performing a miracle to give you a second chance as he did Jonah. In the story of Lazarus and the rich man, the rich man wanted to return to preach to his five brothers but God refused to let him (Lk. 16:27, 28).
In the Day of Judgment, do not be condemned to hell for the sin of Jonah!
TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV: 11, p. 4
January 22, 1970