The Gourd

We have this old story in Jonah 4:1-11 “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.  And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, [was] not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou [art] a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.  Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for [it is] better for me to die than to live.  Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?  So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.  And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made [it] to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.  But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.  And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, [It is] better for me to die than to live.  And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, [even] unto death.  Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:  And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than six score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and [also] much cattle?”

Matthew 23:23-28 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier [matters] of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.  [Ye] blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.  [Thou] blind Pharisee, cleanse first that [which is] within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men’s] bones, and of all uncleanness.  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

In life we can so easily fall into this same trap, “To Major in Minors,” to get so focused on a little Gourd plant, than that of a whole city that is perishing, to have lost our focus, to start down the path of majoring in un-importants, to spending all our efforts and attention on a worthless weed that sprung up overnight, which perished quickly, and then start omitting the weightier matters, our own personal Salvation, and then also ignoring the Salvation of all those perishing people around us.  Just like when sitting in an Airplane, they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first, and then to help any around you that are struggling.  Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  We must put our lives in order firstly, surrender fully to God, commit daily to his guidance and direction by reading daily the Bible, a couple of Chapters per day, Praying earnestly, and then quickly and obediently follow all the promptings and directions from the Holy Spirit.

Mark 16:14-16 {MSG} Still later, as the Eleven were eating supper, he appeared and took them to task severely for their stubborn unbelief, refusing to believe those who had seen him raised up.  Then he said, “Go into all the world.  Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all.  Whosoever believes and is baptised is saved; whosoever refuses to believe is damned.”  The problem with the Eleven, was that they were fixated upon a Gourd, they could not and did not want to see the big picture, wondrous things had happened, and they could only see and mourn over a Gourd, their private loss, while the perishing were stacked up all around them.

With Pentecost, and the fullness of the Holy Spirit, they stopped fixating on worthless Gourd’s, their own woes, and got going at being concerned about the vast City around them, then the Gospel Commission began to spread out all over the world, Thomas is believed to have gone into India and died there, Luke is believed to have died in Egypt, Paul covered vast territories and Nations and died in Rome, Prophet Jeremiah is said to have died in England, so how far has your influence for God spread?  Are you still alone under your Gourd, mourning its demise, or are you concerned about the Salvation of those all about you?  Are you actually fixated on a Gourd and ignoring the pleas of the perishing in your own house and neighbourhood?  “Like Jonah, you may lose your Gourd, but you cannot lose your God” – Charles H Spurgeon.