The other day I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom. I was getting ready for work, and my little boy, Joshua, ran up to me and proceeded to tell me all that he was doing. He was telling me all the good things he had done that morning. Like, sleeping in his bed all night, and helping mommy with the dog. All this was said in hopes of getting some praise, which is exactly what I did. "Good boy", I said, and continued to cheer him on in being a good boy. One of the things I've learned in life is that timing is everything, and I thought I would capitalize on the moment by encouraging him to go to the living room and pick up his maze of toys, because that would really help mommy. The next thing I saw was Joshua's back as he sprinted away from me. His own father! He ran away from his father! All I did was ask him to pick up his toys. It wasn't punishment. It really wasn't that much of a sacrifice. But, evidently, it wasn't in his plans for the day.
The reason I remember this so well is because of my Bible reading that morning right before it happened. I just happened to read the book of Jonah. I actually walked away from it remembering a passage that stuck out. If you've read the Bible a few times you probably have had different things stick out to you every time. I've been familiar with the story of Jonah and the whale since I was a child, and I have never noticed this.
It's in Jonah 1:2-3 (nlt):
2) “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”
3) "But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord."
When Jonah went his own way, he was going away from God. Away from God's will, which is away from peace and fulfillment. My son running away from me is a perfect picture of myself when I run away from God. I'm not just talking about career decisions, or major life changes. This is a relevant lesson for the little things. Saying yes to God in the little things is an essential step on the road to saying yes to God in the big things. When we say yes to God, it's very much like saying no to ourselves.
As my son was running away from his father, he was running from a reward.