I’m learning some tough lessons right now, lessons I’d like to think I already had under my belt, but apparently do not. For those of you that follow me on Twitter and Facebook, you get to read firsthand the lessons that God is trying to teach me. Learning to be content in any and every situation is far from easy, but every time I think about the apostle Paul penning the words of his letter to the Philippians from a jail cell, I begin to think his contentment is possible for me as well. It’s interesting, too, that our version of contentment has to look and feel a certain way or it just won’t do. Family life must be harmonious, finances must be abundant, and ministry must be flourishing in order for us to find ourselves content. What if that’s not God’s plan for contentment for us, though? What if He intends to use the tough stuff to teach us valuable lessons about Himself and His endless, relentless love for you and me?
For years, I’ve had a dream. I’ve sought the Lord to bless this dream and to grant me favor in my pursuit of this dream. I’ve petitioned the Lord to make much of it. And if I’m not careful, this dream can become my idol. When I seek after it, desire it, and long for it to be fulfilled more than I pursue the heart of God, I have an idol on my hands. Currently, I find myself in a “season” of quiet. The last eleven months have been non-stop busyness, fruitful, abundant, and filled with blessing, favor, and in part, dreams coming true. Now, I seem to find myself in a time of rest from it all. What to do with myself, I keep asking. And then these words hit me like a ton of bricks, as if God shouted these very words into my ears and the message sank deep into my heart:
Serve, give, and grow where you’re planted, not over there where the grass looks greener.
I never intend to, but sometimes I fall prey to the temptation of wanting the payoff, the end result without putting in the hard work, the blood, sweat, and tears. I want the finished product, the fulfilled promise. It’s the hard work between now and then that gets me all tangled up. The here and now that God has purposefully placed me in is exactly where I need to serve, give, and grow. He has planted me here for such a time as this, and for me to continue to look over to another’s pasture of blessing and prosperity is disobedience and displeasing to God. I am to serve Him here, to give of myself here, and to grow in Him here, and now.
I share all of this with you to encourage you to join me in this pursuit. You might find yourself internally wrestling with the very same things as I am…discontent with your current lot, wanting what you don’t have, longing for the end result but resisting the necessary hard work that is required to get you there. To each one of you that find yourself where I’m at, I submit these words to you today:
Serve, give, and grow where you’re planted.
Serve the Lord with all your heart right here, right now. Give of yourself to meet the needs of His people – in your home, your church, your community. Grow in your knowledge and understanding of the Lord and His Word right here, right now. Be faithful in what might seem “little”, and then the “much” will be entrusted to you.