Better or Worse

You know these people who walk in the room and immediately the atmosphere improves, in fact their name is probably popping into your head right now. On the flip side there is other people who walk in the room and the atmosphere becomes worse. We call these people either “The life of the party” or “A Debbie downer.” We all want to be around the person who makes the room better when they walk in, but we don’t want anything to do with the person who makes the room worse when they are present.

There are two examples of this. One is found in the book of Jonah. Here is a little context. God tells Jonah to go do something. Jonah doesn’t want to do it. So he tries to run away from God in the total opposite direction from where God told him to go. As soon as Jonah gets on to the boat, the situation takes a turn for the worst. Here is what happens:

But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.” Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.) The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him. (Jonah 1:3-16 NIV)

Jonah was definitely a “Debbie downer.” As soon as he got onto the boat, everything seemed to fall apart. But at the end, when Jonah was thrown off the boat, everything drastically improved.

The second instance is recorded by Mark. This is what he writes:

Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened. (Mark 6:47-52 NIV) 

We see here that everything was in complete chaos before Jesus got into the boat. But as soon as Jesus climbed into the boat, everything took a turn for the best. This is only one of many examples we find throughout scripture. Wherever Jesus showed up things got dramatically better. Blind people received their sight. The lame began to walk. The sick became well. The dead were raised to life.

When Jonah got onto the boat, things got worse; but when Jesus entered the boat, things got better. So let me ask you. Do things get better or worse when you enter the room? When you started going to that school, did things get better or worse? When the company hired you, did things get better or worse? Would people be excited to see you walk in or would they anticipate seeing you leave? Are you a Jonah or are you a Jesus?



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