One of the overarching messages from the Book of Jonah is compassion. Jonah was a prophet, and even though he had let God down in numerous ways, he was still forgiven because God showed him unlimited love and compassion. God also modeled forgiveness and mercy for Jonah in how God dealt with other people.
Compassion is important when you're part of a family or even a community of people with different personality types and life experiences. That includes living a vibrant life among other residents at an assisted living community such as Bethesda Gardens in Phoenix, AZ. Check out these relevant lessons for seniors from the Book of Jonah that you can apply wherever you live.
One of the biggest lessons seniors can take from Jonah is that God's mercy is extended to all, despite how followers may feel about this. In fact, in this book, God expresses disappointment in Jonah for believing otherwise.
In chapters three and four of the book, Jonah is upset with God for offering mercy to the people of Nineveh. He gets downright angry, because he has forgotten that the God he serves is a forgiving one willing to extend his mercy to all.
The lesson here is that all Christians should want God's mercy for others. It's the reason that you take the time to minister to others, because by accepting God into their hearts, they can then receive the mercy they desire.
The Book of Jonah is one of the most infamous in the Bible because during his journey of faith, he at one point finds himself in the belly of a "great fish." This stems from Jonah's disobedience to God, which lands him on a ship in the middle of a stormy sea.
Jonah is thrown from the ship and is swallowed by the great fish, or possibly whale. The fish that swallowed Jonah was sent from God. Jonah stays in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights, all while praying to God to deliver him.
Jonah only found himself in the middle of that churning sea because he tried to hide from God and avoid the task that God had given him. He thought that by getting on a ship to go the other way, he could circumvent the job he was meant to do.
The lesson here is that you can't hide from God. He is all-knowing, all-seeing and everywhere. Jonah learned this lesson under the most challenging of circumstances, and those that read his story can learn that same lesson without such hardship.
One of the main themes in the book of Jonah is that Jonah wants God to operate on his timeline. Jonah is exemplified as an extremely impatient man. He wanted God to dole out punishment on his clock instead of according to God's plan.
Yet God showed Jonah that in his infinite wisdom, he can't and will not be rushed. Because he sees further than any human ever could, God may seem to be moving slower than people want. Yet He knows what is to come. He sees the entire plan, so he takes action on his own time.
The lesson for seniors is that while you may pray for various outcomes, it's important to remember that God already has a plan and you already have a role in it. He can and does do miraculous things, but he does so in divine time.
Jonah displays a real issue with compassion throughout the first parts of this book. Even those who worship the Lord could not do so enough to please Jonah. He didn't want the Lord to show any compassion to those that fell short of his expectations.
God disagreed and manifested perhaps the greatest lesson to come out of this particular book: Everyone deserves compassion, and by following God's word, they can receive it.
This is a good lesson for seniors on showing compassion for others, even if they don't seem to deserve it at the time. This is a good reflection of God's love for all people.
This is one of the cornerstones of the Christian faith, as God's love does change people. Jonah was a completely different person in the beginning of this book than he was at the end of it. God had to put him through a trial to help him realize why he needed to change, but God did get his attention.
While the way God did so may seem extreme, sometimes such action is necessary to help people course correct. Seniors of faith benefit from this knowledge because it helps when ministering to people about why accepting God's love is so important.
This, then, may be the most important lesson of all, which is that God's love can and does change people in the everyday. This was the case with Jonah and this is the case for many people that choose to follow God's word today.