My Poor Gourd! by Brian Carlisle
Text Version | Afrikaans | Italian
A Story About Jonah
How would you feel if you were riding your brand new bicycle down your street and suddenly a garbage can blew into your path and caused you to wreck? And not only did you destroy your brand new bicycle, but you broke your arm and both legs! Then if that wasn't enough, the wreck knocked out all your front teeth. Wouldn't that anger you?
Now imagine that while you are lying there bleeding and in extreme pain, your father runs up to the garbage can and begins crying aloud because you had dented his garbage can. How would you feel if your father fell on his face in the dirt and began screaming and kicking the ground and crying, “Oh, my poor garbage can is dented! What ever shall I do? I wish that I were dead!”
“Unbelievable!” you might declare. “This would never happen. My father would never do that!”
How about if I told you a different story about an older man, very dignified and proper, who fell on his face and cried because a worm had eaten and killed a weed? Still won't believe my second story?
Supposing I told you that the man was more concerned about his dead weed than about the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and cattle. No Way? You think that there is a better chance that your father would cry over the garbage can before someone would cry over a dead weed?
Believe it or not, the story about the man and the weed is true. The story is about a prophet of God named Jonah.
Perhaps you've heard the story about Jonah, a prophet of God, and how he was called by God to go to the wicked city of Nineveh. God had instructed Jonah to proclaim to the people of Nineveh to repent or face God's judgment. As the story goes, Jonah fled from God's face and tried to escape to Tarshish in a boat, but God sent a great storm upon the boat and everyone on board feared the ship was going to sink. The Captain could do no more to save his ship so he called upon all the men on the ship to call on their God for Mercy.
Just as the boat was about to be destroyed, Jonah confessed his sins to the Captain. Jonah informed the Captain that he was to be thrown overboard, into the sea. Reluctantly the Captain obeyed Jonah, and immediately after Jonah landed in the water, he was swallowed by a whale.
It took Jonah three days for him to repent and for the whale to spit Jonah out, onto the shore. Sad, and looking like he had been through the worst three days of his life, Jonah proceeded to Nineveh. After some time, Jonah, smelling like half-digested seaweed, entered the city of Ninevah. Reluctantly, Jonah proclaimed God's message and urged the people to repent.
The King was moved by the message and made a decree that all his people should repent and turn from their wicked ways. The King prayed to God for mercy and compassion.
Here's where I want to start today's story.
Silently and angrily, Jonah stomped his way to the east side of the city and built himself a booth. Even though the people of Nineveh had repented of their sins, Jonah felt that the people had committed so many sins that God would not forgive them nor spare them the wrath of his judgment.
How long Jonah waited for God to send down judgment upon the city, the Bible doesn't say. However, the Bible does say that God caused a gourd (similar to a squash or type of vegetable) and its vine to grow up over the top of Jonah, to give Jonah shade from the hot sun. This made Jonah very happy.
But the next morning, God allowed a worm to infest the gourd, and the vine withered and died. Next, God prepared a strong, east wind to arise, and allowed the sun to beat down upon Jonah's head so that Jonah fainted from the heat. This is when Jonah threw his little tantrum. He pouted and cried and even wished that he were dead. “It is better for me to die than to live,” wailed Jonah.
The Bible goes on to say that God finally spoke to Jonah and asked Jonah why he was so angry, even unto death. How do you think Jonah responded?
A. “I'm mad because I lost a lot of money.”
B. “I'm mad because there are still wicked people in Ninevah.”
C. “I'm mad because I smell worse than half-digested seaweed.” Phew!!!!
D. “I'm terribly angry because my weed died.”
If you guessed “D,” you were right. Jonah was more concerned about the weed that gave him shade than he was about all the people that had repented and been spared from God's wrath!
God rebuked Jonah for having more pity on the gourd than on the great city that God spared because they repented. The Bible says that there were more than six-score thousand (120,000 people) that were too young to tell their right hand from their left. This number didn't even include the teenagers and adults! God wanted Jonah to have mercy and compassion on the people of Nineveh.
Now we may never cry over a garbage can or a weed, but so many times we put little, unimportant things ahead of telling others about God's saving grace. We would rather play a game or watch a movie instead of telling others about God. Or maybe we are more concerned with how our hair looks than about whether or not our best friend is going to heaven.
No matter what the weed, or item that we love so much, we must remember that God wants to save everyone from their sins, no matter how bad they've been. We must also remember that God also wants us to care more for the sinner and his salvation than for the little things that have no eternal value at all. We are to have mercy and compassion on all people.
1. What vegetable grew up and gave Jonah shade?
2. What ate and killed the vine?
3. Why was Jonah angry?
People are more important than things.
A VERSE TO LEARN
“The Lord is…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9b).
Is there someone you know who doesn't know Jesus and does bad things?
Do you think you have the courage to tell them about Jesus or do you
want to run away like Jonah? Why did Jonah run away from telling
people about God?
Think of reasons you don't tell people about Jesus? Can you think of
ways to tell people about Jesus?
[After discussion:] Maybe you can invite them to go to church or
youth group with you. Maybe you can go out of your way to be kind to
them and, if they ask why, tell them it is because you and Jesus love
The Word of God says that the angels rejoice when someone repents
(Luke 15:10). Will you be glad with the angels when someone you know
comes to know Jesus, even if you think they don't deserve it? Let's
take a moment and pray for God to forgive us, help us overcome our
weaknesses, and give us courage to tell people about Jesus and
rejoice with them when they accept Him as their Savior.
Dear God, thank You for the stories in the
Bible that teach us how we should live. Help me
to remember that being concerned about people
is much more important than being concerned
about things. Give us courage to tell others
about Jesus and let our hearts be happy with
them when they accept you as their Savior.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.
CAN YOU FIND THIS STORY IN THE BIBLE?
Jonah and His Gourd
Jonah and His Gourd (with memory verse)
Cut and Scramble Memory Activity Page 1
Cut and Scramble Memory Activity Page 2
Jonah in the Whale
Jonah and the Great Fish
Action Bible Coloring Book
Coloring Through the Bible
Beginner's Bible Super-Duper Mighty Jumbo Coloring Book
Bible Stories Kids Love Coloring Book (ages 2 to 4)
Bible Verse Coloring Pages #2
Big Book of Bible Story Coloring Pages for Elementary Kids
Jesus Loves Me, This I Know, Coloring Book
My Bible Coloring Book
My Jumbo Bible Story Coloring Book
The Super-Sized Book of Bible Coloring & Art
Children's Bible Coloring Books
Jigsaw Puzzle (online)
Jonah Crossword Puzzle
Jonah Word Search
Jonah Is Humbled By God
Fill In the Blanks
A Vital Message in Code
Find These "Great" Things in the Book of Jonah
Jonah: How Many Days?
Jonah - Online Activity
Jonah Word Search
Jonah Crossword Puzzle
Jonah and the Big Fish Activity Book (ages 5-7)
Jonah and the Big Fish Tales of Glory Play Set
Jonah and the Great Fish
Jonah & the Big Fish Puzzle, 24 Pieces
Jonah, Go Fish! Game
My Look and Point Jonah and the Whale Stick-a-Story Book
Plush Jonah & Fish
Best Book of Bible Activities
Bible Puzzles: Word Search
Big Book Of Bible Puzzles
Big Book Of Bible Story Activity Pages V1
Children's Activity Books
Christian and educational toys
Encyclopedia Of Bible Games For Children's Ministry
Jumbo Bible Activity Book 4
Memory Verse Games for Kids
The Humongous Book of Games for Children's Ministry
The Super Sized Book of Bible Puzzles
Jonah and the Big Fish Paper Craft
Jonah and the Whale Craft
Jonah and the Whale Crafts
Jonah Bible Craft
Stuffed Paper Bag Whale
Bible Crafts & More (Ages 3-6)
Crafting the Word of God
Encyclopedia Of Bible Crafts For Preschoolers
Hot Crafts for Cool Kids pdf download
Maker-ific WOWS! (ages 8-12): 54 Surprising Bible Crafts
More! Bible Crafts on a Shoe String Budget:
Paper Sacks & Cardboard Tubes
(Reproducible: Ages 5-10)
Puppet Crafts For Kids
God Had A Job For Jonah (Inside The Whale) [Music Download]
God Said Go (watch online)
Jonah and the Whale Song
Jonah and the Whale Song (watch online)
Jonah And The Whale [Music Download]
Jonah, Are You Gonna [Music Download]
Jonah Song and Lyrics (watch online)
Listen to My Tale of Jonah and the Whale (watch online)
Who Did (Swallow Jonah) by Cedarmont Kids [Music Download]
100 Ways To Know God Loves Me & 100 Songs
100 Bible Stories 100 Bible Songs
Action Bible Songs
Bible Songs on CD
Bible Songs on DVD
100 Singalong Bible Songs For Kids
Platinum Bible Collection of Classic Christian Songs on DVD
25 Favorite Sunday School Songs
A Big Fish Tale: The Story of Jonah
Arch Books Bible Stories: Jonah and the Very Big Fish
Arch Books Bible Stories: Jonah, The Runaway Prophet
Famous Bible Stories: Jonah and the Big Fish:
Discover 4 Yourself, Children's Bible Study Series: Wrong Way, Jonah!
Go, Jonah, Go!
HOBC Bible Big Book: Jonah
Jonah and the Big Fish
Jonah and the Fish
Jonah and the Whale online story
Jonah Comic Book
Jonah, God's Messenger
Jonah Read online
Jonah-The Runaway Preacher: A Bibletime Book
Read the story in the Bible
Solomon/Jonah Flip-Over Book
The Beginner's Bible: Jonah and the Big Fish, My First I Can Read! (Shared Reading)
The Runaway Prophet or the Chicken of the Sea
The Story of Jonah listen online
Tiny Readers' Jonah
Whale and Jonah Read and Listen Online
365 Read-Aloud Bedtime Bible Stories
365 Activities For Kids:
A Bible Story And Activity For Each Day Of The Year
100 Bible Stories 100 Bible Songs w/2 CD
Beginner's Bible for Little Ones
Bible in Pictures For Toddlers
Early Reader's Bible
The Children's Illustrated Bible
The Preschooler's Bible
Pilgrim's Progress Comic
Spanish Children's Books
The Picture Bible (also in Spanish)
Online Fish Matching Game
Print Out Fish Matching Game
Adventures in Odyssey ® Bible Eyewitness - Hall of Faith
Bible on the Go Vol. 33: Prophets' Warnings; Jonah
(Hosea 14; Amos 1, 8-9; Jonah 1-3; Micah 6; Nahum 1; Habakkuk 3; Zephaniah 1-2) -
Unabridged Audiobook [Download]
Bugtime Adventures: A Lot to Swallow - The Story of Jonah (watch online)
Golden Bible Stories: The Story of Jonah (watch online)
Greatest Heroes and Legends: Jonah and the Whale DVD
Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, DVD
Jonah Under the Gourd (listen online to audio drama)
Old Testament Arch Books on CD: Noah's Two-by-Two Adventure and
Jonah and the Very Big Fish (2 books and 1 CD)
Sight and Sound: Jonah
Superbook DVD: Jonah
The Bible Comes Alive, Your Story Hour Volume 4, Audiobook on CD
The Story of Jonah - Listen online
What Does God Want Me To Be When I Grow Up?
Do You Wonder Why? (watch online)
Read and Share DVD Bible
God's Story from Creation to Eternity (listen & watch online)
Bible Collection: Jesus TV Mini-Series [Streaming Video Rental]
The Jesus Storybook Bible Curriculum Kit
Bible story DVDs
Resources for Parents and Teachers
Bible Query From Jonah
Discover 4 Yourself, Children's Bible Study Series:
Wrong Way, Jonah!
Have you felt like giving up lately?
Jonah and the Great Fish Bible story activities
Jonah Is Humbled By God Bible story activities
Jonah Lesson 4
Jonah Part 1 Bible Art [Download]
Why does the book of Jonah end so abruptly?
Free Bible story images
801 Questions Kids Ask About God
African American Resources
Almost Every Answer for Practically Any Teacher
Bible for Children in 232 languages
Bible Memory Match Game
My Jumbo Bible Story Coloring Book
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Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours
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Teaching Children To Pray Ages 4-5
Teaching to Change Lives
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for Children's Ministry
Vacation Bible School
What Every Sunday School Teacher Should Know
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