Inspiration – The reasons why ‘Can’t somebody else do it?’

Rev. Terry Goerz,
Redeemer Lutheran Church.

Can’t somebody else do it? Those words and thoughts often come to our minds and out of our mouths when being asked to do something we’d rather not do. It happens in our work and jobs, it happens in homes and families, and it even happens within the church. It happened to Jonah when the Lord told him to go to Nineveh, the Assyrian capital.

The Assyrian Empire subjugated the world with cruelty beyond compare. Still today, you can see their bragging artwork. They depict the kings of all the nations, each in their native dress and show these conquered kings paraded into slavery, the long line shackled, each connected to the next by a fishhook through the lips. The Assyrians boast of flaying children in the sight of their enslaved parents. They show Nineveh’s king gouging out his captives’ eyes with his spear.

So little wonder with the reputation of the Assyrians that Jonah arose all right, headed for Joppa and jumped aboard a ship headed for Tarshish, at the end of the known world to try to escape God and this assignment he must have considered suicidal.

There are many times we hear things in Scripture we’d rather not hear when it comes to difficult things. Sometimes it may not even be difficult things, like the great commission.

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28: 19, 20)

The way the Christians of our day (including me) seem to be responding to this “Great Commission” can be best summarized “Can’t somebody else do it?”

There are a great many in our circle of friends, relatives and acquaintances who we know have an eternal destiny of the Lake of Fire after death, yet we are reluctant, even fearful of sharing with them the message of reconciliation that has been committed to us.

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5: 18-21)

Sharing that message of reconciliation with those we know is not near as fearful an assignment as that given to Jonah. We may think that that person we are close to would never, never respond to God’s desire to be reconciled to them because we know the kind of life they are leading, but to even to the evil Ninevites, God showed His mercy by sending Jonah.

And even those seeming beyond reconciliation Ninevites responded in repentance to the Word God gave to Jonah. Instead of “Can’t somebody else do it?” we need to keep in mind who has given us the Great Commission – He who has been given all authority in heaven and on earth and His promise that accompanies the Great Commission.

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 20b)

Instead of “Can’t somebody else do it?” entering our minds, may we instead be reminded of God’s continued promises and presence with us in whatever we do in faith, and also that it is God’s desire that everyone “come to the knowledge of the truth”.

“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2: 3,4)

God puts His desire for all to be saved also in your heart through the Great Commission. God promises to use you, just like Jonah, to lead others “to come to the knowledge of the truth”. It is a great privilege to be used by God as His ambassadors in His desire to save all people.

Jonah turned the Ninevites when God gave him only a message of Law. We have so much more because God has given us not only the law, but the saving Gospel, the message of reconciliation.

So we should be motivated by the Gospel, by the Good News that God loves us, the Good News that God loves the ones to whom he sends us.

And the ones to whom He sends us need to hear so they can come to the knowledge of the truth!


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