Sunday as we continued in our Glorious Mess with “Running from God” (Jonah 1), we were confronted with the reality that we all have our “Tarshish” – the place we go when we run from God. Jonah ran to Tarshish, a port city in Spain, 2000 miles west of Israel. The edge of the earth in Jonah’s day. The place where the map stopped. It’s as far away as Jonah could possibly go. Tarshish was an exotic place, the Disneyland of the ancient world. 1 Kings 10:22 describes some of what you could find in Tarshish. “For the king had at sea the ships of Tarshish with the ships of Hiram; once every three years the ships of Tarshish came bringing gold and silver, ivory and apes and peacocks.” So Jonah ran to Tarshish trying to outrun God’s call on his life.
What’s your Tarshish? Where or what do you run to… work, entertainment, sex, alcohol, materialism? We all have our Tarshish? You want to know a popular Christian version of Tarshish? We use God to run from God. In Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Pastor Peter Scazzero talks about how Christians often create a great deal of “God-centered activity,” but we ignore the difficult areas in our lives that God wants to change. All those hours spend reading Christian book after Christian book, going from small group Bible study to small group Bible study, serving in ministry after ministry. They’re all great things. But if we’re not careful, we can use Christian activity in an unconscious attempt to escape from the pain in our lives and ignore what God is really trying to do.
What’s your Tarshish? where do you run?