Lift can mean a lot of things. But for the sake of this article, lift is supposed to mean a free ride. It is when someone meets your transport needs without debiting your account. And when you speak in the language of economists, freeriding could even be a vice. For it means benefitting more than one is willing to pay, or shouldering less than one is supposed to. But in our case it is not evasion of any kind, but rather an offer. It’s strange to refuse a lift and bare unnecessary burden. It is unwarranted to walk a long distance when by accepting the lift you could have been placed in a better place.
It’s all about Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath-hepher. Generally people are very ignorant of the writings categorized under minor Prophets. Maybe to prove this assumption I hereby give a simple test: Give a synopsis of the book of Obadiah? Are you comfortable? I can see you’re struggling to remember, but chances are high you’re going to check it out now. But the book of Jonah is different. Here is a book that many have read through, if not, they must have heard it being unpacked from the sacred desk. No introduction is given but it all begins with a commission: “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.” Jonah immediately finds another destination other than the one required of God. A prophet is a mouthpiece of God. When He has not spoken, silence is golden, but when God has issued a command, he must cry aloud and spare not. This was not a request, but Jonah thought of evading the mission to go for a trip in the furthest ends of the Mediterranean Sea, Towards the coast of Spain. But where’s the lift?
There’s a principle with which God functions. He requires no obedience to matching orders clouded with ambiguity, and His biddings are enablings. When God called Jonah to go to the Assyrian Capital, He had a means ready for accomplishment of the duty at hand. Jonah refused to be airlifted by divine Aviation authority to use his savings instead. Tarshish was not a stone throw away. It must have required much more to cater for the mariners fee, but Jonah went for it anyway. He refused God’s offer to sacrifice his savings on his own errands. This story is so solemn, it cuts deep into our lives. God calls for obedience, but we use our money to meet the cost of disobedience. The voice of God is loudly calling us to the path of chastity, but we use our treasures to reach out to debauchery and every line of seduction from duty. God is freely offering teetotalism, but we use our money to try all drugs and even come up with untried ones. We have refused the divine lift to eternity and instead secured an opportunity to be punished with the devil in the hell fire. Is this not an error in stewardship?
We are beginning a new year, according to the popular calendar we are using globally. Resolutions have been made. Maybe, you want to continue with the ones that were never achieved in the previous years. But I would like to add you another one. Purpose in your heart to be a good steward of all the means given you. When I talk about the means, I mean such things as your mental faculties, emotional deposits, financials and many more. God is giving a lift that you may preserve them, but other elements will need them sacrificed in order to serve them. This is basically how the devil works. If Jonah the prophet of God was not beyond his antics, then we have every reason to be careful.
Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every(this) new year find(make) you a better man(person)
– Benjamin Franklin