Moved by passion, birthed out of compassion

I was reading the last chapter of Jonah today and was struck by the very last verse.

But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”

As I read that verse, I couldn’t help but think of the city that I call home. St. Joseph is a metro with 105,000 people. Of those, The Association of Religious Data Archive tells me that only 55% claim any religious affiliation. Of those 55%, it is my estimation that only 40% or so of those (and that is a liberal estimation) are actively involved in a bible teaching church. Taking that into consideration, it occurs to me that I live in a city which is, at best, only 20-30% Christian. It’s funny how we seem to relate missions as something that cannot occur without a foreign language being spoken, and yet for those of us living in the US we walk every day down the streets of one of the largest mission fields the world has ever known.

God’s passion for the people of Nineveh, who were living in spiritual darkness, makes me ask myself “How passionate am I about my city?” I am surrounded by lostness, and I do a good job (as well as most believers I know) of getting worked up about lost peoples around the world. If I don’t get as passionate about my own backyard, am I really concerned about lostness?

Father teach me today to love St. Joseph with the love that you expressed towards Nineveh. Help me to passionately pursue the saturation of the gospel in my city. Show me ways in which I can build bridges for the gospel. Help me to share Your word and experience fruit for the kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Micah is a husband to Tracy & a daddy to Grace, Kessed & Haddon. He’s Senior Pastor at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Most of all, he’s a debtor to grace.

4 thoughts on “Moved by passion, birthed out of compassion

  1. In a twisted way, it’s not about my being passionate about my Nineveh. It’s about my being passionate about my God.

    HIS passion for Nineveh .. His passion for the lost everywhere … His passion for the sick and hurting … His passion, is enough.

    If I’m in love with Him in the way He prescribes … and the fact that Jesus said it means we CAN do it …. He gladly enables that in us .. then HE becomes my passion. I have no choice, then .. I am compelled to serve Him with all I have. And there’s not a part of my life .. my job … my church activities .. my discipleship activities .. my family … all of it .. that’s outside the purview of serving Him.

    That’s my passion.

  2. Bob-

    In my opinion (which is admittedly faulty) you are correct, and you are wrong. Is that ambiguous enough for you? I should have been a politician. 🙂

    Seriously, though. I agree that all we do starts and ends with passion for God. Having said that, however, I don’t think we can avoid the terms of endearment that we find in scripture for the lost or for the hurting. Whether we’re referring to Jesus’ tears over Jerusalem or Paul’s heartfelt love in Philippians for the church, there seems to be a pattern of loving God and then loving others. Isn’t that, in fact, the concept that Jesus was affirming in Luke when he affirmed the Pharisees knowledge that the greatest commandment was to love God passionately, but that the next greatest was to love people?

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