Recently there was the church elections,whereby various church leaders were being elected to lead the church for the next three years,one lady suspected that she would be elected into one of the posts and intentionally kept away from the church on the day of elections,actually she attended church in one of the neighbouring churches with one idea in her mind that ” if i am not present i won’t be elected”.The church elections went on very well and to her great suprise she got elected in absentia into the post of the Church Secretary,she couldn’t believe it but either way she deviced another plan.On the following sunday there was to be the commissioning of the new officials and handing over from the exiting officials,so she decided not to come to church thinking that now having been elected in absentia should she fail to be available for the commissioning the church would reconsider,do a snap election and give the post to another person but to her shock the commissioning went on well despite her being absent,actually when her name was called and she wasn’t there to answer a former official just without much ado informed the church that she wasn’t in and normal business went on as planned.Now having escaped the two times our good lady thought now both God and the church must have given up on her and come the following sunday after commissioning ,being a dutiful church goer she decided to show up and this was her day to learn the lesson learnt by Jonah,Jeremiah ,Isaiah and Moses.The church went on so well everyone seemed so joyous and lively including our good lady,and soon enough the service came to and end and now was the time for the announcements and the new deputy secretary took podium and after a raft of announcements ,he smiled, lifted his face to look at the congregation and announced “Today sister Elizabeth is in and as you all remember she was not in during last week’s commissioning of the officials and now i kindly ask her to come in front and receive her commissioning” All eyes turned to sister Elizabeth,for a moment she seemed to freeze in disbelief but quickly composed her self,walked in front of the church,went and stood beside the deputy secretary ,saw an empty seat and quickly slumped her self on it,only for the deputy secretary to ask her to stand at the middle point in front of the church to which she obliged,he hurriedly gave her the microphone ,she managed a smile, greeted the congregation, then said her name,in the frenzy she tapped the microphone twice,but recollected her mind fast enough before doing other awkward things,by now the presiding priest had stood up and walked towards her slowly,she found her voice and said she had a question to the priest to the utter shock of the congregation,for me having keenly followed the events i knew what would follow…(another attempt to refuse the post).Now the congregation opened their ears wide enough not to miss even the faintest word of her question to the priest,the priest unknowingly put his palms together ,dovetailed his fingers,raised his pointing fingers together and brought them to his lips not knowing what to expect.For a few seconds there was great silence.Then sister Elizabeth lifted the microphone and faced the priest and said “Father,i would like to ask you a question,(the priest slightly nodded),she proceeded,” Is it ok to be elected as a church official in absentia?” In this, according to me she technically meant, i was not consulted,i did not give consent or i was not eligible. For a second the priest kept quite,then he quoted Jeremiah 1:5,which says “Before i formed you in your mother’s womb i knew you and set you apart…” ,then calmly said to her “Yes,it is ok” Much to clapping and ululations from the congregation and a sigh of relief from the tense moment(there couldn’t be any other better response than what the priest said) .And just like Jonah in the bible, Sister Elizabeth quickly accepted her ‘fate’ and muttered her consent,after having ran way from the mass commissioning where probably much attention won’t have been on her,now she was standing alone in full glare of the congregation to receive her commissioning alone.Her commissioning went on well ,and after a few minutes the congregation was joyously clapping and welcoming her into her new post as the church secretary for the next three years.From all this, two things clearly came out, she was greatly qualified for the post,she was eloquent,no stage phobia,knew what the post entailed,accepted it and went on to rally support from the congregation,and the congregation greatly loved her.According to me all this confirmed that she was the God’s choice for the post.This event left me thinking what was going through her mind as she went back home having fully taken the role she had put a spirited effort to run away from.I guessed may be she had some reasons of her own which we knew not about ,maybe she thought that the she was inadequate for the role ,but i recalled even Jeremiah had thought the same,Actually when God called Jeremiah,Jeremiah was quick to point out that he was just a small boy,he didn’t know how to speak,to which God responded by touching his lips and gave him that great capability of addressing all,both mighty and small.(Jeremiah 1:4-9),clearly showing us to what God call us into He equips us accordingly.Also i remembered about Isaiah,when God called Isaiah to be a prophet he rightfully said that his lips were dirty,probably meaning he has been saying inappropriate things,probably abuses,probably backbiting or any other unbecoming words.God saw it a genuine reason,ordered a seraphim who took a live coal from the altar and passed it over Isaiah’s lips,effectively cleansing his lips and from this he took up the mission.(Isaiah 6 :1-8).But what most hilariously i would smilingly love to discuss with sister Elizabeth is the story of Jonah,Whereby One day God in His great mercy asked Jonah to go to Nineveh and warn the people there that they would be destroyed for their iniquities if they didn’t repent.Interestingly Jonah decided not to go to Nineveh but instead chose to go to Tarshish probably thinking God would give up on him and send someone else. According to me God who knows and searches our hearts(Jeremiah 17:10,1 Chronicles 28:9,Psalms 139:1,Revelation 2:23) must have watched with a wry smile on His lips as Jonah prepared,packed his bags and went to Joppa,paid the fare and sailed to Tarshish,He must have allowed it so that it can be a lesson to both Jonah and us.And the ship departed for Tarshish,Jonah being full of guilt could not sit with other men but instead choose to go and hide among the luggage at the deck,where he fell into a deep sleep ,along the journey the ship was hit by violent winds,everyone panicked and prayed to his god,probably thinking they would get a relieve not knowing it was the true Everlasting God who had sent the storm all in interest of showing his wayward servant Jonah that he could see him and he was within His reach.Soon enough the captain realized that Jonah was busy sleeping whereas everyone else was praying his lungs out for mercy from the gods,he ordered Jonah to also pray to his god not knowing that Jonah was actually running away from his God.Ironically Jonah who knew about the true God was doing nothing while the people who never knew about the true God were busy enchanting their gods hoping they would help.A challenge to us current christians, how many times have we sat down and did nothing about a problem which very well we knew the cause or better enough we knew our Lord can help?. When chanting couldn’t help the sailors decided to cast lots to identify who was responsible for the calamity,and your guess is as good as mine,the lot fell on Jonah.And they asked him to explain himself,to which he clearly told them that he was running away from his God(Jonah 4:2) and he was the reason as to why they were in deep trouble,They asked Jonah what to do about the situation he had plunged them in, And just like sister Elizabeth in the beginning part of this article,he quickly accepted his fate and still in that spirit of disobedience he suggested to be thrown into sea hoping to die and bring this contest to an end,forgetting that Almighty God is the Sovereign authority in both heaven and earth and every creature is subject to His command,
they tried to row back to the land but the storm grew stronger,of course this happens anytime we seem to be more determined to resist the Lord instead of just yielding, and finally they gave up,said a short prayer picked Jonah and threw him into the sea,for the ship to be purged of his evil,God commanded a huge fish ,which swallowed Jonah and would safely carry Jonah for three days and nights in its belly and deliver him to Nineveh.Interestingly the storm calmed down and the rest of the ship’s journey went on well simply because all this suffering was due to presence of an errant servant of God in the ship,A challenge to us current christians, as opposed to what happened to Jonah can we be counted to be the link to the saving grace at the time of trouble or instead we are the reason as to why God’s wrath is unleashed? Eventually Jonah was at Nineveh and delivered the message of God(Jonah 1).Finally we can’t forget about Moses,this was a great messenger of God who had two great contrasts,he was the meekest man on earth but also a man of rage,in one instance he saw an Egyptian beating an israelite and in his rage he eliminated the egyptian and secretly buried him,as divine providence had it ,he ran away into the wilderness,where later he would become a shepherd to his father’s in law sheep and goats,and God called him into the mission of delivering the Israelites from bondage in Egypt to the promised land.Imagine being asked to go back into a country whereby you are being hunted for having committed a murder and the regime looking for you is not known to be very kind to Hebrews .It must have been a shock to Moses and hence he presented God with a barrage of reasons why he was not fit for the mission.Moses would say he was a stammerer,people won’t believe him,people would ask him about the name of God who had sent him.To which God overruled him and gave him answers for all these questions and also made Aaron his brother to be his spokesperson(Exodus 4,5).Honestly Moses felt he was not the best match for the task ahead (Exodus 4:13)(on top of all his shortcomings,he was a murderer and we very well know God shall demand an account of every life (Genesis 9:5) but whoever He calls,He sanctifies and equips for the mission,God had earmarked him even before he was born that’s why divine providence had it that despite Moses being born to an enslaved Hebrew he would be brought up in Pharaoh’s palace(Exodus 2),where he was safe,had good nourishment hence grew into a healthy strong young man,trained in warfare,schooled in matters wisdom among other prerequisites for the task ahead,actually Moses was brought up as one of the princes.I perceive just like God had designed a plan on how mankind would be saved after the fall at the garden of Eden by sending his only son Jesus,also He had in place a plan on how the Israelites would be freed from bondage and Moses was chosen as the man to lead the exodus despite all odds against him.
The lesson of this article is that despite our opinions or opinions of the other people ,whoever hears the call from Lord should answer and willingly serve as the Lord directs,because whoever He chooses He equips and just like He told Paul,It is hard for you to kick against the pricks/goads (Acts 26:14) you can’t resist Him but rather heed the call and obedience will be credited to your name,All for glory of God.