“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor 15:58).
An Opportunity Declined
I was in seminary in New Orleans in the early 90s. Like any graduate degree, seminary involves an immense amount of work and dedication. I also had a family, worked 40 hours, and attended and served at my local church.
The church that I was a member of asked me to consider becoming a deacon. I was a little surprised that they asked me since I was transitional and after seminary would be moving on. In addition, I thought that, perhaps, I might get called to a part-time ministerial position and would preach, at times, on the weekend. I felt that at any moment, God would open up a door of ministry for me to serve. So, although the church viewed me as a man worthy of serving as a deacon, in my heart and by my actions, I was not ready to serve. I respectfully declined.
God Was Talking to Me
Some months later, in a chapel service at school, we had a special guest speaker who preached a message entitled “Bloom Where You’re Planted.” I don’t remember his Bible text, but I do remember the theme. There was a room full of seminary students, but I knew he was talking to me. The idea was, don’t worry about what you might do for God 3 years from now–or somewhere down the road; instead, serve Him where you are and bloom where you’re planted. I was deeply convicted and repentant of the attitude of my heart and subsequent actions. God needed to humble me and He did.
The Servant’s Job
As believers in Jesus, all of us have wants, goals, and aspirations. We all have spiritual gifts, desires, and places we would “prefer” to serve. But, at the end of the day, a servant’s job is to serve. The servant does not set the schedule or give the parameters for service (Luke 17:7-10). The servant’s job is to serve.
Learning the Lesson
The preacher’s message hit home and I vowed to bloom where I was planted. About six months later, when the deacon body asked again, I said that, if approved, I would be honored and willing to become a deacon. I had learned the lesson and was ready to serve.
The interesting part is, six months after that, I began serving as an interim pastor and was later selected as pastor of that church. Part of me thought, “I knew I wasn’t going to stay.” The other part of me knew, “I had learned the lesson God wanted me to learn and, only now, was I was ready to serve.” That day in chapel I vowed to serve whenever and wherever He led. That day was a brand new beginning.
Get in the Game
I don’t know what God may be doing in your life, but if you are a believer, He is working on you and wants to use you. Don’t sit on the sidelines waiting for the perfect position to open up–get in the game and get your hands dirty. Serve faithfully and from the heart and be willing to say, “wherever He leads I’ll go.” Then, hang on and keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle. Serving God involves an incredible ride.