Do you know a good “fish story”? Anyone who has ever gone fishing probably has a tale or two to tell. I didn’t do much fishing growing up, but I do remember the time I caught a 14-inch sucker (a very ugly fish!) in the Red Cedar River at Ferguson Park in Okemos and was so proud of my catch, I rushed it a couple of blocks home so I could keep it alive in a bucket of water so that all my friends could see it. Needless to say, the poor fish didn’t last long in that bucket!
If you ask anyone to name a fish story in the Bible, they will no doubt begin with the story of Jonah in the Old Testament (and it is a “big fish” and not a whale in the actual story). It is indeed an amazing tale when Jonah winds up in the belly of the fish for three days—which tops any fish story we could come up with! But a closer examination shows us that there a number of issues being addressed that make the whole “big fish thing” a secondary part of the story.
On the last three Sundays of January and the first Sunday in February we will be spending some quality time with Jonah’s fish story in worship. By breaking it down, we will be able to see the important points being made—from things like the human tendency of running the opposite direction when God calls us to somewhere we’d rather not go, to God’s amazing grace that was actually “aggravating grace” in the opinion of Jonah when God saves a group of people that Jonah was sure didn’t deserve it. In other words, we will discover that this little story is loaded with timeless truths about ourselves and God.
So I hope you can join us as we examine this fish story that is way more than just a fish story. For I believe that it is a fish story that belongs to us all as we find ourselves somewhere within it.