May 02, 2009

Should I Not Be Concerned ... ?

Jonah 4

“Should I not be concerned about that great city?”
Jonah 4:11


There is something about masses of people in a great city that emphasizes the lost condition of humanity.

Though Nineveh was a great city, its people had wandered far from God. But Jonah didn’t care much about that, because Nineveh’s people were enemies of his own people. Still, God was concerned about Nineveh’s people. So he sent Jonah to teach about him, and they “turned from their evil ways” (Jonah 3:10).

Jerusalem, the great city of God’s people, had wandered as well. Many years later, “as [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes’” (Luke 19:41-42). Jerusalem’s leaders had rejected many of God’s prophets, and they soon would reject Jesus as the Son of God who could bring them peace with God.

Sometimes as I drive along the elevated highways in the heart of Tokyo and I see the city stretching out to the horizon, the same feeling wells up in me: “If only you knew what would bring you peace!” Vast train networks have swelled the size of cities since Jesus’ day, but the heart of humanity is still without peace.

Are we concerned, as God is, for people who don’t know him? Let’s remember Jesus’ words: “Look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35).

Lord, we are so busy with our daily activities. Open our eyes so that we may see how people need you. Give us your compassion and guide us to join in the harvest. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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