I have several verses of scripture that have been leaned upon over the years to help me in my faith development. One them is Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (NLT)
That verse was shared with me by a pastoral colleague during a very dark period in my life over two decades ago. I believe that it to be true.
But the context of this verse has equally become a valuable part of my life and faith as well. This verse is preceded a few verses earlier with these verses (5-7)
“Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.”
This is the prophet Jeremiah telling the exiled Hebrews to “bloom where you are planted” in which case was in the conquering nation of Babylonia! This called to “build, stay, plant, eat, marry, procreate, multiply, work for peace and prosperity” directive has shaped my ministry in my current location of now 11 years.
And this passage came to mind in an article that I read yesterday by Warren Wiersbe that was published on the sermoncentral.com website, The Patented Preacher. In it Wiersbe remarks of a conversation he had with a pastor of a church where he was speaking about the sense of “out of place” this man felt:
“…I’m really a country preacher with a minimum of academic training, yet I’m ministering to a university crowd. You write commentaries, and you read more books in a month than I do in a year, yet your congregation is primarily blue-collar and nonprofessional. It doesn’t make sense.”
Wiersbe goes on to process what this man was saying and along the way he speaks of God’s direction related to ministry with this insightful statement:
The experiences we preachers go through are not accidents; they are appointments. They do not interrupt our studies; they are an essential part of our studies. Our personalities, our physical equipment, and even our handicaps are all part of the kind of ministry God wants us to have. He wants us to be witnesses as well as heralds.
I would suggest this morning that his insight is one that laity and clergy alike would benefit by. And I am appreciative of the fact that I am where I am supposed to be at this point in my life, growing and stumbling along with the rest of us, and that I am learning, more and more, to accept myself for who I am because God has so ordered it. I am desirous to continue to “bloom where I am called.”
I pray that as you read these words you too, will be more open to blooming where you are called.
these are my Thursday Thoughts
for the entire Wiersbe article, go here: http://goo.gl/IrlAq