You know how God gives folks new names in the Bible? Abram became Abraham; Sarai became Sarah; Saul became Paul. I think God is about to start calling me Jonah.
A couple of months ago, we ranked in order of preference, the teams we would like to serve on during our mission trip to Peru. The number of teams we had to choose from could rival the NFL. We could pick between the medical team, dental team, door-to-door evangelism team, eye clinic team, children’s ministry team, spiritual counseling team, etc.
With my pencil in hand, I stared at the list and heard quite clearly a familiar voice in my soul, “I want you to put down door-to-door.” My response was immediate and determined, “That’s crazy! No way!”
Of all the teams on that list, door-to-door was my last choice. I’d rather stick my hand in someone’s mouth in the dental clinic than traipse about Peru going from house to house selling Jesus. In my mind there are two words for that: night – mare.
Again, I heard the voice: “I want you to do door-to-door!” My palms started to sweat and my resolve became more pronounced as I said silently, “I’m not going to put it down as number one but I will put it in the number two slot.”
As I type that sentence I want to punch myself in the face for being such an idiot. Why do I resist!? I just blatantly cruised down to Joppa and bought a ticket to Tarshish instead of Ninevah. Just call me Jonah.
I turned the form in with the following rankings:
1) medical clinic
2) door-to-door evangelism
3) eye clinic.
(Sadly, the dental clinic took last place since door-to-door moved up the chart.)
In our next meeting, I couldn’t flip through the pages of the handout fast enough to find out my team assignment. I glanced through the medical team first. Kellie’s name was there, but mine was strangely missing. Next, my eyes frantically scanned the list of eye clinic volunteers. I got excited as I located Robyn and Lil’s names, but there must have been a mistake because my name was not on that list either. Then, as I saw my name under the door-to-door evangelism team, I’m pretty sure I threw up a little (spiritually at least) and I think I saw God cross His arms, lean back on his throne, and with a smirk on His face say, “Ummm. Hmmmm. I said door-to-door!”
Yep. Just call me Jonah.
And just like Jonah, I pouted a while. Until one day, I heard myself say to someone, “My friends are working in the eye clinic and on the medical team, but I have to do door-to-door.” I cringed as those words came out of my mouth. How could I be so selfish and ungrateful?
My response should’ve been “I get to go door-to-door;” or “I get to tell people about the God who I love and serve;” or “I get to see people make the most important decision of their lives.”
My perspective shifted even more when Dr. Bill commented something to the gist of: “The door-to-door evangelism team is really the elite team; That’s where it’s at.” I sank in my chair.
Embarrassed by my unworthiness.
Humbled by God’s grace.
And honored to be chosen.
Do you know what the best part is?
I don’t have to.
I get to!