Why has God planted you where you are?
New Christians often presume that a faithful response to Christ’s invitation means they need to enter into some form of “full-time ministry.” In their rush to follow their Lord, they often fail to consider their natural strengths, talents, abilities, connections, or resources. In other words, what plans might the Master Gardener have to use them as they grow – right where they are?
Jesus describes God as a Sower, generously spreading the seed of transformed lives across His world. We do not hear Jesus say that “some seed landed on fertile soil – and after it began to grow, the fledgling plant pulled up its roots and relocated to the garden behind the local church, where it provided shade and shelter for the other plants already safely within the picket fence.”
Instead, we read that it grew – abundantly—right where the Sower had planted it.
New Life, New Direction
When we first come to Christ, there is a tendency among evangelical Christians to presume that we must significantly alter our life direction. Certainly that’s true internally, as God begins renewing our minds, as the Word of God cuts deeply to discern the thoughts and intents of our hearts, and as all things become new. And as that internal change takes place, our outward actions will and should change.
In some rare cases, a change of life focus or career may be in order. For example, if a life focus is at odds with God’s commands or encourages immoral behavior, then clearly change is needed. But even then, God can repurpose experiences and skill sets for Kingdom use.
Consider the conversion of Saul, who later became the Apostle Paul. When Christ got Saul’s attention on the road to Damascus, Saul’s life was focused on using his strengths and deep theological education to kill Christians. That would need to change. But God didn’t call Paul to dig wells in Africa. Instead, He repurposed Paul’s theological training to accelerate the growth of His Kingdom.
How often is Kingdom growth delayed by well-intentioned believers who forsake their areas of God-given strengths to pursue what passes for more spiritual endeavors, or to work under the banner of “full-time ministry”? How often do other Christians stay put, but merely tolerate their work week in order to get to what they perceive to be “real ministry” on evenings and weekends?
When Christ commissioned this new era of His Kingdom, he commanded us to “go into the world and make disciples,” not withdraw from the world into a holy huddle.
What if we chose to grow where the Sower planted us, to let the Master Gardener tend to the outcome while we seek to flourish by His grace and for His Kingdom purposes?
After all, we’re not the ones who planted us in the first place.
Are you a new Christian struggling to find direction? What do think of the concept of growing where you’ve been planted? Leave a comment below with your story or thoughts.
We invite you to explore more about rethinking the Kingdom calling for you and your church at ReimagineGenerosity.com.