The time has come for me to decide on an MIT (most important thing) for the story of Jonah. I chose the fact that “God loves everyone; even the unlovely.”
VeggieTales is major competition here in that a good deal of the kids in our classes have already seen their movie, Jonah. I really liked the movie, and I thought it did a great job at teaching the story and helping kids understand it. I believe their MIT was “God is a God of second changes.” VeggieTales focused on the fact that God gave Ninevah a second chance just as he gave Jonah a second chance to deliver the message. The movie did a great job teaching how Jonah was a messenger, how the Ninevites were evil, and how the Jews hated them.
I wanted to be different though. The story of Ninevah is a direct attack on Racism. Jonah hated all of the Ninevites. As God pointed out, not all of the Ninevites were wicked. Some of them weren’t even old enough to know right from wrong, yet Jonah wanted the whole city destroyed. Doesn’t that describe Racism?
While kids may not be able to understand Racism, they can understand dislike. Kids can definitely be cruel to their peers in deeds and words. They need to learn that God loves everyone, good and bad (not their bad deeds, but their person), pretty and ugly.
Picture the person you get mad at the most, the person you dislike the most, or the person you might even admit to hating. Would you be willing to give them the gospel, or even deliver a message to them? Would you be as guilty as Jonah?