JONAH SHOULD WALK A MILE IN MY FOUR-INCH STILETTO RED SUEDE PUMPS
This is a reflective season for those of us who keep the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. In preparation for the Passover we reflect on the amazing and undeserved sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God. For the Days of Unleavened Bread we think about the sin that remains in our lives and strive to remove it as well as removing the leavening from our homes. At the foot-washing ceremony, an important part of the Passover service, we recommit ourselves to serving our fellow man.
I also usually get a pedicure as part of my preparation, just so my calluses and dry feet don't tear up the hands of the person washing them.
However, this year I did not have time to go and get a pedicure. So I had to do it myself as best I could. And while I was working on my feet, a couple of thoughts came to me that I would like to share with you. They are about the prophet Jonah and a really good shoe.
First of all, I thought about the fact that God removes all of the calloused places in us - in our hearts and our lives - and gives us soft, pliable hearts to replace them. (Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26). We are not to be hard or calloused toward others. We need a soft heart so that God can work with us. Jonah did not have a soft heart toward the people of Nineveh and God had to teach him a lesson about that. (See Jonah 4:5-11)
I also thought about the fact that a good looking, stylish shoe is not always comfortable. This reminds me that in our lives what seems fun and beautiful and desirable is not always what God would have us do. He sometimes asks us to do things that take us out of our comfort zones. He might ask us to work with the homeless or with those sick in the hospital when we have a deep phobia about germs and easily gag on bad smells. Sometimes what seems good and fun and desirable is actually bad for us. For example you might want to be in the popular crowd at school, but to get or stay with the popular crowd might require you to engage in underage drinking, be mean to people who are not members of the group, gossip or be a part of other sinful or inappropriate.
Jonah clearly did not want to be thought of as the guy who saved Nineveh from destruction since prophecy told how they would later persecute his people. It might have caused him a lot of grief, maybe even rejection, at home. (Jonah 4:1-3)
I also thought about the fact that sometimes comfortable looking shoes like a certain pair of flats I have are not always a good fit either. These cute, comfortable looking flats have a seam that rubs against side of my little toe and causes a blister every time I wear them. This reminds me that God takes us from our seemingly comfortable lives into uncomfortable places for the greater good of ourselves and others.
It also reminds me that we are not called to live a life of comfort. We are called to live a life of service and sometimes it is hard service. God may ask a naturally shy person to speak to others about the Gospel in a public forum. He might ask me to become a missionary in Africa, requiring me to quit my good-paying job to live a life of poverty among them. Or maybe you want to quit your job and serve the church full-time, but God says "no, stay at work. The church needs both your money and your service."
While the service that God asks us to do may be difficult, it is harder to live a life resistant to His will when we know he is asking us to do something. (Acts 9:5) Think about what Jonah went through when he tried to resist God's will for his life. (Jonah 1 & 2) I would not want to spend three days in a fish belly.
And then sometimes you find that perfect shoe that fits well and is stylish too.
I have a pair of ankle strap, peep toe pumps that look like they would be hard to stand and walk in but they're actually very comfortable. I can actually stand at my standing desk at work all day or walk a half a mile on the streets of New York in those shoes because they fit just right and the platform protects the ball of my foot.
This reminds me that what God gives us to do is always the perfect fit, no matter how it might initially seem to us or to others. Matthew 11:30 says, "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." One translation actually says "my yoke fits perfectly." God doesn't ask us to do what we cannot do. He knows that we "can do all things" with His help. (Phil. 4:13)
God asked some of the prophets of the Old Testament to do some things that seem to me to be pretty hard to do. Read about the ministries of Isaiah and Jeremiah. I think Jonah's burden seems pretty light in comparison to what God asked them to do and what their “haters” put them through. But it not for me to judge another man's role in the service God requires of him. After all, I wouldn't want Jonah to judge my life or work as too easy, at least not until he tried walking a mile in my four-inch stiletto red suede pumps.
I’d love to hear your thoughts too. Write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.
About the N.E.W. Church Lady – She is just an average middle aged woman who has been a believer and church attender all her life. She is married with three grown children. She lives in a small town and works in sales. Her hobbies are fitness, reading, cooking, writing and travel.