A child actress of yesteryear, Shirley Temple, was in a bunch of movies as a child and captured the heart of our country with her contagious smile and her cute singing voice. In one of her movies, Bright Eyes, she sang a song that was her signature song for years. The song was entitled “On the Good Ship Lollipop.” Here are some of the lyrics of that song on the good ship lollipop its a nice trip, into bed you hop, and dream away, on the good ship lollipop. A few years ago our children got together and gave us our first ever cruise to Cosumel. We didn’t know what to expect when we got on our ship, so everything was a new experience. The biggest part of the experience was “getting away from it all.” You know a, “calgon take me away” type of thing. And we really enjoyed the chance to relax, refresh, and spend that time together. It was a great time and much appreciated by me and my wife. I guess if we immersed ourselves in that way of life, we would probably just like to spend all the rest of our days on that ship. Sun, food, no clean up, just vegging. The only problem is, life isn’t that way. You do come to a port somewhere and reality kicks back in….as it should.
In the book of Jonah, in Chapter 1 verse 1 it says, “The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai.” God had a great plan for Jonah’s life and He wanted him to go to Nineveh and preach against it, because of it’s wickedness. Jonah on the other hand thought that was a terrible plan, so he proceeded to run from God and ran straight onto what he thought was the Good Ship Lollipop, but he was mistaken. He wasn’t on the Good Ship Lollipop, he was really on The Last Ship. And it was the last ship he would want to sail on for awhile. You know the story. He was thrown overboard, he was swallowed by a giant fish, and puked up on the shore. That was him returning to port. It all goes to show that if God wants you to do something it is better to go ahead and follow His will and do it. I have heard some say, “God won’t force you to do anything.” Tell that to Jonah as he walks around with his “fish breath.” God got his attention and, as unconventional as it seemed, Jonah followed God’s original instructions. God does get His way every time. Jonah went from “I’m not gonna do it!” To Jonah 2:7-9 “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs, but with a song of thanksgiving, will I sacrifice to you.” Oh, now Jonah is singing a different tune isn’t he? His song changed from Not Gonna Bow to Let’s Go. He thought he would be able to escape on the Good Ship Lollipop, but there was no escaping the long arm of God and his repentance and change of heart resulted in all the people of Nineveh repenting with sackcloth and ashes and it even caused the king of Nineveh to do the same. Mission accomplished!! It changed them so much the king declared that all the people should cry out urgently to God and give up their evil ways. God heard their prayers and it saved their city. But what about Jonah. He didn’t stand up and say, “Praise the Lord for saving the Ninevites. Nope, Jonah had a mad fit because he hated the Ninevites and thought that God was wasting His grace on them. Another part of this story is Jonah went out to the east side of the city and had a mad fit and wanted to die, but God provided a vine to cover over him to protect him and then killed the vine the next morning with a worm. Jonah was so concerned over the death of the vine, but not concerned over the lives of the people. I guess you could say he was a “tree hugger.” God showed him the error of his ways when comparing a vine to 120,000 people’s lives. Jonah fled the presence of God to keep from having to serve Him for a people he did not like. His attempt to flee on a ship was stopped by God because God wanted to use him for his plan and him alone. Jonah had significance in God’s plan and Jonah trying to sail away on the Good Ship Lollipop wasn’t going to keep God from using him.
What is God calling you to do for him and who is it going to impact? Are they people you have a love for, or are they people you don’t really like? Don’t think you can cruise off into the sunset if God wants you to serve Him for a specific ministry. That’s when the storms of life will direct you back to God’s original plan for you. Been there, done that. You may have given every excuse you can think of to keep from following God’s plan, but God answers every excuse. So what do you do? First of all, you don’t go on a cruise and veg. Secondly, you perk up and start listening even closer for God’s specific direction in your life. Why? Because it will mean something great for you and those you minister to. Thirdly, you let go and let God!!! It’s time to let go and follow the call on your life and see what great things God has planned for your life when you follow His commands. The Psalmist said in Psalm 31:3 “Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.”
If you are willing He is wanting. If you are listening, He is talking. If you are ready, He says Go!!
The Pilgrimage continues…