Pause

“Lord have mercy!” — a phrase we often hear or say. Indeed, the phrase is so common, that the shock might have worn off.

But God’s mercy is shocking! The Creator of all that is grants mercy when God could rightfully condemn or punish. God’s mercy is the ultimate gift and show of love to us. When we deserve the worst and are the most unlovable, mercy tells us differently.

Do we realize this gift? And do we know how to respond?

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Listen

But the Lord said, “You ‘pitied’ the shrub, for which you didn’t work and which you didn’t raise; it grew in a night and perished in a night. Yet for my part, can’t I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than one hundred twenty thousand people who can’t tell their right hand from their left, and also many animals?”

Jonah 4:10-11

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Think

Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s not about you”? My mom used to say that to me all the time. (Actually, she still does.) I'm very guilty of thinking that people have intentionally tried to hurt me with their choices, when in reality I have nothing to do with their choices at all. “Not everything is about you,” I hear my mom saying in the back of my head. And she’s right. Not everything is about me. It never will be, and it never should be.

In these verses God reminds Jonah that he’s too stuck in his own world to realize that God’s actions are not about him. God reminds Jonah that more than 120,000 people and animals are significantly more important than that bush. God is saying to Jonah, “The others are just as important as you. I gave you protection. Don’t you think I should care about them too?”

As hard as it is to hear, we need to be reminded that God’s mercy is God’s decision and not our own. It’s not about us, but about God – the Creator AND Redeemer.

Katie Barrett Todd

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Pray

Redeeming Lord, you know how I wrestle with fairness, jealousy, and conviction, but you love me still. Thank you for finding ways to remind me that your choices are yours to make. I pray you’ll help me to remember your mercy is everlasting, from the smallest bush to the largest gathering of people. Thank you, God. Amen.

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Go

Let us be renewed by God's mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.

Pope Francis

Accepting the mercy of God means consciously changing our way of thinking. It requires us to realize that the One who is the Creator has love for all.

Allow yourself to be renewed. Let mercy flow through you into others.

 

Katie Barrett Todd

Rev. Katie Barrett Todd is the Executive Director & Pastor for UKIRK Greensboro, a PC(USA) ministry to college students in the greater Greensboro area. She holds a M.Div and MACE from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, NC. Katie has served churches and campus ministries in South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Nebraska. Mommy to Luke and Lilly, she’s married to Mason, a pastor at a nearby church in the North Carolina piedmont.

Making Space - Fallow Ground

Carter Harrell

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