“They [the people of Nineveh] proclaimed a citywide fast and dressed in burlap to show their repentance. Everyone did it—rich and poor, famous and obscure, leaders and followers.” Jonah 3:5 (The Message Bible)
Television talk shows spend the day following the Emmy, Oscar, or any other big TV award ceremony, showing movie clips or pictures of women wear extravagant gowns. Each year, there is someone who bares more skin, wears more layers of fabric, or gets the “best dressed” or “worst dressed” award. It is as if it doesn’t matter if the woman in the dress won an award or not. The dress gets all the attention.
Jonah told the people of Nineveh to get their act together or God would wipe out their city. The people listened, and in response, proclaimed a citywide fast in which all people would wear gunnysacks-style clothing to show that they were sorry for their actions. Imagine this picture in the news or on a TV talk show.
Years ago, I had been given a whole wardrobe of clothing from a friend right before taking a three-month temporary job at a law firm. I made a game out of wearing a different outfit every day, and no one seemed to notice. However, a few years later at a meeting, I ran into the supervisor of that law firm, and she said, “I remember you—you’re the woman who wore a different outfit every day.” I wonder if she remembered that I did my job well.
Dear God, robe me in what it takes to stay in good grace with you. Amen.