Scripture Reading — Jonah 4
"I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love ..." Jonah 4:2—
The board game Monopoly is won by buying up and controlling most of the real estate-or at least the parts that make the most money-and driving all other players into bankruptcy. To get ahead, players must outmaneuver their competition. In a game like this, the money and properties are phony, but the competition and lust for power that can grip players can be very real.
Do some people want to monopolize God's grace? Jonah did! Jonah had no interest in sharing God's grace with the people of Nineveh.
From Jonah's point of view, how could God even think of being gracious to people like the Ninevites? According to Jonah, grace was God's gift only for Israel, his chosen people. Jonah was hoping for a show of fire and brimstone after he preached in Nineveh, saying God was angry because of all its wickedness.
Instead, God taught Jonah a lesson about how he works in our lives. When the people of Nineveh repented, God gave them grace instead of judgment. Jonah wasn't happy about that! God taught him that grace was God's gift alone to give, not Jonah's to control.
Are there people from whom you would just as soon withhold grace? Don't try to monopolize grace for yourself and only the people you approve. God's distribution plans are much broader.
<p>Thank you, God, that grace is not just for me. May I seek grace for others as you have given grace to me. And may I show your grace by sharing your love. In Jesus' name, Amen.</p>