In Jonah 4, God has just spared the people of Nineveh in response to their turning away from evil, and Jonah is angry. Things did not go the way Jonah wanted, and he goes as far as to say that he would rather die because of it. As he watches the city from the east, God provides a plant to shade him from the sun, and then takes it away again. Jonah is therefore uncomfortable and angry about the plant. The book ends with God’s response:
10 And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”Jonah 4:10-11, ESV
It seems somewhat fitting to read these words as we have just celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday, because we are aware that things are not going the way we wanted either. The situation is different from Jonah’s; there is a difference between missing our holiday traditions and Jonah missing his leafy plant or wishing punishment on the people of Nineveh, but there is an important similarity. God still wants to see the lost come to Him. If we are focused on whether or not this year has gone the way we wanted, we can lose sight of our mission to show the love of God and share the salvation of Jesus Christ with others.