Jonah Lesson 3

God Expects Us to Take the Initiative and Serve Him

Jonah Chapter 2

1.  Sometimes you can feel God calling you to serve Him, yet you wait to be asked, rather than volunteering:

a.  For service in some church program or activity.

b.  For some worthwhile Christian service endeavor.

Q1.  There are so many opportunities to serve the Lord, but often the opportunities go wanting for lack of volunteers, even though they may be qualified to serve.  Should we volunteer or wait to be asked to serve?

Q2.  Should every new person who attends a church service be offered an opportunity to serve?  When should they be approached?  How do you engage them without overwhelming or scaring them away before they even get started?  How do you determine what their talents are?

2.  Let's look at this subject from the perspectives of God and Jonah.

a.  God became the initiator when He saw the need and potential for conversion in the hearts of the Ninevites.  Our God, who knows all, sees potential where we may not.

b.  Jonah had to learn initiative.  It began with his submission in the belly of a large fish.  (If you haven't already, ask someone in the group to read Jonah, Chapter 2 at this time.)

c.  A clear mark of a true servant of God or leader for God is the display of initiative.  Godly servants and leaders, who are committed to their faith, simply don't wait for someone else to approach them about getting involved.  If they do, they mark themselves as reluctant followers only.  God truly wants those who have a heart for service to show initiative.  Do you have the foresight, faith, and willingness to take a risk for kingdom work?  Then God wants you to take the initiative to get involved in a ministry.  Volunteer to teach, work, reach out to someone in need, or just simply ask, "What do you want me to do?"

d.  Like Jonah, we need to take the initiative and the risk for God, because we know our future is in His hands, even when there is some fear involved.

Q3.  What are some fears we may have when we take the initiative and start something new or challenging in doing kingdom work?  Discuss the best way to deal with each of those fears.

3.  Nehemiah is a wonderful Biblical example of a dedicated man of God taking the initiative and following it up with action.  Refer to the Book of Nehemiah, chapters 1 and 2, and if time allows, read this passage.

4.  In lesson 4, we will see that the King of Nineveh also displayed the trait of initiative when he responded to the message of God , spoken through Jonah, and lead his people to respond to this call.

Q4.  Identify some people the group knows, or have known, who have taken the initiative to begin a good work in the name of Christ, and dedicated themselves to it.  What has resulted from their actions?

5.  Some other Biblical passages that closely align with the idea of taking the initiative are as follows.  As you read the scriptures, mention the initiative that should be taken in response to each passage.

a. Proverbs 13:20 - "He who walks with wise (men) shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall  be destroyed."

b.  Proverbs 14:7 - "Go from the presence of a foolish man, when you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge."

c.  Proverbs 15:1 - "A soft answer turns away wrath; but a harsh word stirs up anger."

d.  Matthew 5:16 - "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven."

e.  Matthew 7:7 - "Ask, and it shall be given to you, seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you."

f.  Romans 12:20 - "Therefore, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for in so doing, you will heap coals of fire on his head."

g.  Ephesians 4:26 - "Be angry and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your wrath."

h.  James 4:17 - "Therefore, to him who knows to do good, and does not do it, to him it is sin." 



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