But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” (Jonah 4:10, 11 NIV)
Sometimes, I feel like Christians in the US have more concern for the “vines” in their lives than for the people living and dying in spiritual darkness. This applies to me, especially. I get wrapped up in side projects or ancillary details all the time, neglecting much of what is really important in life.
Many times, I hear Christians in the US call others to pray for the economy or gas prices or some other US-centric issue that is, in the end, probably our fault anyway. While there’s nothing wrong with praying for our country, it worries me that our national comfort and success has become a “vine” that is of more concern to many Christians than the advancement of the Kingdom worldwide.
It worries me that our national comfort and success has become a “vine.”
Jesus never promised to bless our nation, or any nation, just because we Christians are living there. Millions of Christians in nations far less blessed suffer in anonymity. Do they pray for their nations? I’m sure they do, but I don’t know if the economic or geopolitical power of their nation is at the top of their prayer list. If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say that they are more concerned with praying about the war/violence, abject poverty, and possibly anti-Christian/anti-Gospel sentiment, if not outright policy, in their nation.
We are spoiled.
I may be a citizen of the US, but I’m a citizen of the Kingdom of God first and foremost. I have been instructed by God to pray for my nation, but the prayer that must be held in my heart is not “God, bless America.” Instead, it must be, “God, advance Your Kingdom. Bless Your children, wherever they might be. Use me, Jesus, to accomplish whatever You will to do.”
Don’t let our national difficulties become a “vine” that distracts you from loving others, that distracts your from being a citizen of Heaven first and a citizen of the US second.
But maybe your “vine” is something else. Who knows? God. Ask Him to show you what small—and possibly “good”—thing has distracted you from His big thing: eternity.
What “vines” do you concern yourselves with to the neglect of God’s Kingdom?