Grow Where You Are Planted

We live in a society that is in mad pursuit of the good life.  Never fully satisfied with what we have, we are always on the lookout for something better.  Restlessness is the daily reality for many people—both outside and inside of the church.  James identified this problem in stark language:

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?  You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  (James 4:1-4)

There’s really only one thing that will cure us from this grasping for “more.”  When we have a clear vision of what God has called us to and the courage to walk into it, we will find contentment, regardless of the cost or circumstance.

Years ago, when the Standard Oil Company was looking for a representative in the Far East, they approached a missionary and offered him $10,000 to take the job.  He quickly turned down the offer.  They raised it to $25,000, and he turned it down again.  They raised it to $50,000, and he rejected it once more without giving it a second thought.  “What’s wrong?” they asked.  He replied, “Your price is all right, but your job is too small.”  Every job is too small when it is not the job Jesus has called you to do to expand the cause of His kingdom in this world.

Now, don’t run off thinking I’m telling you to be a missionary because everything else is too small.  Not true!  The job at the oil company would have been a wonderful job . . . if it had been God’s calling for this missionary.  But it was not.  This man knew so well what God had called him and equipped him to do, and he was so focused on doing it, that he had the fortitude to refuse a job that would have made his life a whole lot more comfortable and secure.

Only a small percentage of Christians are called by God to be missionaries in the sense of travelling to a foreign land.  To be sure, we are all on mission for God, declaring and demonstrating the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And for most of us, that mission is to be lived out right where we have been planted . . . whether we have been called to be a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker.  Our calling is the place where we are growing and serving our Lord, regardless of the offers that come our way and no matter how much greener the grass may look on the other side of the fence.  This missionary who turned down Standard Oil knew that nothing less than God’s call in his life was worth contemplating, considering, or carrying out.

What about you?  In what vineyard has God planted you to grow and flourish and expand the cause of His kingdom?  If we have never thought much about our calling and where we fit into God’s perfect plan, we may find ourselves careening from wall to wall throughout life, going from one job to another job.  I have spent many hours counseling men who have lived this reality, which has left them reeling.  Only when we are doing what God has designed us to be doing, based on the way He has hard-wired us, will we be able to say in the face of a seemingly better offer: “No thanks, it’s too small!”

Dr. D. James Kennedy, the man who brought me into full-time vocational ministry, told me that someone asked him if he had ever considered running for president of the United States.  He promptly replied, “Why would I want to take a step down from the greatest job in the world?”  Dr. Kennedy knew what God had called and gifted him to do, and once that truth seized him, he could not consider any other place of service in the world, even if that place was located at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.  It simply would have been a job that was too small!

When you are doing what you have been created to do, there is nothing that can pull you away from it.  At this level of living, you are not only in your calling, but your calling is in you.  Remember, every job is too small when it is a job you have not been called to do or you are not doing for the glory of God.  Someone once asked me if I considered any job to be menial labor.  “Absolutely!” I said emphatically.  “It is the job you are working at for your own glory, to expand the reach of your own little kingdom, and where Jesus simply cannot be found.”

But this is not for you!  If Jesus is not calling you away from your current station in life, grow where He has planted you.  This will be for your good and for God’s glory and to the benefit and blessing of everyone you meet.

This is the Gospel.  This is grace for your race.  NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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