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Title My Poor Gourd

Text Version | Afrikaans

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?

falling off a bike

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.

God sent a great storm upon the board and everyone on board feared the ship was going to sink 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.

Jonah informed the Captain that he was to be thrown overboard into the sea 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.

Jonah proclaimed Gods message and urged the people to repent 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 prayed to God for mercy and compassion 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. What 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."

Jonah sitting under the gourd 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.



What vegetable grew up and gave Jonah shade?
What ate and killed the vine?
Why was Jonah angry?


People are more important than things.


"The Lord is...not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9b).


Dog and boy praying

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. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Jonah 4:1-11


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

Coloring Through the Bible
Beginner's Bible Super-Duper Mighty Jumbo Coloring Book
Bible Story Coloring Pages V2
Really Big Book of Bible Story Coloring Pages
My Bible Coloring Book
Thru-the-Bible Coloring Pages
What's in the Bible Reproducible Coloring Book—Genesis to Revelation
Children's Bible Coloring Books


Jonah Crossword Puzzle
Jonah Word Search
Jonah Maze
Jonah Is Humbled By God
Fill In the Blanks
Jonah Quiz
Jonah and the Big Fish Activity Book (ages 5-7)
Jonah & the Big Fish Matching Game
Jonah & the Big Fish Stickers
Jonah and the Big Fish Tales of Glory Play Set
Jonah and the Great Fish
Jonah's Fish Ride, Pencil Fun Books, 10 Pack
Jonah and the Whale Jumbo Floor Puzzle with Read Along
Jonah, Go Fish!
Jonah's Whale Pencil, Pack of 24
Plush Jonah & Fish

Best Book of Bible Activities
Encyclopedia Of Bible Games For Children's Ministry
The Humongous Book of Games for Children's Ministry
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Memory Verse Games for Kids
Big Book Of Bible Puzzles
Bible Puzzles: Word Search
Big Book Of Bible Story Activity Pages V1
Jumbo Bible Activity Book 4
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Friendship Wreath
Stuffed Paper Bag Whale
Jonah and the Whale Crafts
Bible Fish and Whale Crafts

Bible Crafts
Bible Crafts & More (Ages 3-6)
Bible Crafts On A Shoestring Budget: Paper Sacks & Cardboard Tubes (Reproducible: Ages 5-10)
Big Book of Bible Crafts (Ages 3-12)
Encyclopedia Of Bible Crafts For Preschoolers
Puppet Crafts For Kids
Praise God with Paper Plates (Reproducible: PreK-Grade 2)

singing birds

God Had A Job For Jonah (Inside The Whale) [Music Download]
Going Down
All At Sea
Jonah and the Whale Song
Jonah and the Whale - Song #11
Jonah And The Whale [Music Download]
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
25 Favorite Sunday School Songs
Children's Music

child reading a book

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:
Go, Jonah, Go!
HOBC Bible Big Book: Jonah
Jonah and the Big Fish
Jonah and the Big Fish Carry Me Puzzle Book
Jonah and the Fish
Jonah and the Whale
Jonah and the Whale online story
Jonah Comic Book - PDF Download [Download]
Jonah, God's Messenger
Jonah Online Comic Book
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 Beginner's Bible: Jonah's Big Fish Adventure
The Man Who Ran: Jonah
The Runaway Prophet or the Chick 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
Bible in Pictures For Toddlers
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Online Fish Matching Game
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CDs and Videos

Watch amazing little girl tell the story of Jonah!

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]
Greatest Heroes and Legends: Jonah and the Whale DVD
Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, DVD
Jonah And The Whale with Interactive Computer DVD
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 Story of Jonah - Listen online
What's in the Bible DVD 9: God Speaks - Isaiah, Jeremiah & the Prophets

The Animated Kid's Bible (3-DVD Set)
The Beginner's Bible Box Set, 4 DVDs
#1: Read and Share: The Ultimate DVD Bible Storybook
God's Story from Creation to Eternity (listen & watch online)
The Bible MiniSeries DVD Set
The Jesus Storybook Bible Curriculum Kit
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Children's DVDs

Resources for Parents and Teachers

Bible Query From Jonah
Discover 4 Yourself, Children's Bible Study Series: Wrong Way, Jonah!

Go To Work For God Bible story activity
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]
The Friend Bible story activity

801 Questions Kids Ask About God
Absentee Postcards
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Almost Every Answer for Practically Any Teacher
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Church Nanny Sos: Teaching Discipline Essentials for Preschool Ministry Volunteers
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God's Wisdom for Little Boys: Character-Building Fun from Proverbs
Help! I'm a Sunday School Teacher
How To Lead a Child To Christ
King James Version Gift & Award Bibles
Leading Little Ones to God: A Child's Book of Bible Teachings
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Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours
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Vacation Bible School
What Every Sunday School Teacher Should Know

Children's resources


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Last updated October 23, 2018.

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