Called To Count
Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called.
1 Corinthians 7:20
“Bloom where you are planted.” These famous words from a 1960’s poster are just as pertinent today as they were then. Many of us look at our lives and wish things were different- really different. We wish we were married, or we wish we were married to someone else. We wish we’d taken another job, or we wish we had gone in a completely different direction in college. We wish this, and we wish that. We live in a w cloudy world of “if onlys” and “what ifs.”
Paul’s encouragement for people to remain in their calling was written to- get ready for this- slaves (1 Corinthians 7:21). He told them not to worry about their freedom. If they could became free, they should go for it, but if not, they didn’t have to worry about it. Either way, they were told to follow God with passion and whole heart. If slaves could bloom where they were planted, maybe we can too.
In our nation, we have phenomenal opportunities to change our lives in many ways, but not all changes are necessary or even helpful. Most of us would benefit from honest reflection about the level of contentment in our lives, followed by a rigorous assessment of what we demand out of God, out. of other people, and out of ourselves. Quite often, we’d find that we have bought into the dream of more and better. We’d be wise to back away, think hard about where God has placed us, and maybe, just maybe, put our energies into blooming exactly where we’ve been planted.
The awareness of a need and the capability to meet that need; this constitutes a call.
John R. Mott
The Bible teaches that God orders the steps of His people. If that’s the case, and it is, then wherever we are in life right now is in the plan that God has for us. Sometimes that may be hard to see and even harder to accept especially when it’s a difficult place.
The book of Esther contains a story of a beautiful young woman whose steps were being ordered by God. In the beginning things were great and I’m sure she was enjoying every moment. Out of all the young women she had been chosen to be the queen. Although her family was Jewish and had been captured and brought to Babylon which was conquered by Persia, she was elevated to be the king’s wife. Things went well for a while and then the day came when she received a visit from her uncle Mordecai. He informed her that a decree had gone out to seek out every Jew and execute them. He reminded her that even she wouldn’t be safe once she was identified as Jewish. He asked her to plead their case before the king and when she hesitated he told her that God had set her in place “for such a time as this.” You and I might never be placed to save a nation, but just maybe to save a single person. That’s why we need to ascertain that we are where God wants us to be rather than running away every time it gets a little stressful. If God has strategically placed us, then only we can be whom He uses. If we bail, jump the fence, or run away we just might leave a gap. In Ezekiel God says, “I looked for a man (or woman) to stand in the gap and make up the hedge, so it would not be destroyed, but I found none.”
It’s important that each of us know we matter and that we count in the plan of God. The Bible says that we are the Body of Christ and every joint is to supply to the wellbeing of the whole. Rather than chafing about where we are and constantly looking for a way of escape, why not just God work through you right there? It might just be amazing what God will accomplish through us if we learn to stand still and stay put.
The story of Joseph is another story of a person’s life that God directed. It wasn’t always an easy place where God planted him, but it was a place of purpose. Whether he was taking food to ungrateful brothers, being thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, falsely accused and thrown into prison, Joseph just bloomed wherever he was. From slavery he rose to managing Potiphar’s house. Resisting the affections of his mistress, he wound up in prison. Sometimes doing the right thing gets you in trouble. But keep in blooming anyway. In prison, Joseph kept walking with God and being used by God for his fellow prisoners. When one of them got out, his promise to remember Joseph was forgotten, but God hadn’t forgot. Some of us are afraid if we don’t get immediate notice we’re in the wrong place. When Pharaoh dreamed a prophetic dream and the nation was in trouble, Joseph was in the right place to be used. I’m sure everyone was glad he hadn’t jumped ship. Later in the famine, because Joseph chose to bloom where God planted him, he was in position to help his family. His words to his brothers reflect his understanding that God had indeed orchestrated his life. “ What you meant for bad, God turned to good.”
When we trust God to direct our steps, we can patiently bloom where we’re planted.
Seek God to find out what He has called you to do- and He has called every Christian to something- and once you discover it, do it with all your heart and soul. Don’t stop even when it gets tough. Remember Esther and Joseph and how God planted them for just the right time.