While talking with my pastor recently, we discussed my increasing burden/passion for pastoral ministry. As we talked, he looked at me and said: “You need to bloom where you are currently planted.” I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear this. I’ve been looking toward ministry for so long that I’d missed something incredibly important: God wants to use me where I’m currently planted to produce patience, thankfulness and joy—fruits of the gospel in me.
Patience. Paul describes a heart liberated by grace as, among other things, patient (Gal. 5:22). Patience means trusting in the sovereign care of God. It means waiting on the Lord’s timing, trusting that His plans are better than yours.
One of the hardest things about patience, however, is actually exercising it. Maybe you rolled your eyes when you read “wait on the Lord.”Although it might seem cliché, it really is good advice.
As I wait on the Lord to open the door to pastoral ministry, I’ve realized He’s already provided many opportunities to minister to others.
This is what God does for each of us—He calls every single Christian to serve Him faithfully where He has placed us. And that produces thankfulness.
Thankfulness. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Th. 5:18). You are to be thankful not only for what the Lord is doing in your life, but also through how you minister to others where He has planted you. You have gospel-work to do right where you are. So give thanks for these opportunities, for joy springs out of a thankful heart.
Joy. Blooming where the Lord plants you ultimately leads to joy. This isn’t what you get when you put on a happy face while inwardly grumbling about where the Lord plants you. It is the result of cultivating a patient and thankful heart. It’s a joy that comes from being focused on Jesus. Focusing on Jesus is what takes your attention off present circumstances, giving you patience. Focusing on Jesus causes your heart to brim with gratitude for all He’s doing in and through you. Jesus is the source of joy. “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10).
Patience, thankfulness and joy are fruits of the gospel displayed in our lives. Since the gospel produces what it demands, blooming where we’re planted is not only a possibility but a reality. As the gospel does its work in your life, the people around you will increasingly see the fruits of the Spirit displayed in your life; this is the result of blooming where you’re planted. Now let the gospel do its work in your life and bloom where God has planted you!
Dave Jenkins is the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, and the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine. He and his wife, Sarah, are members of Ustick Baptist Church in Boise, Idaho, where they serve in a variety of ministries. Dave received his MAR and M.Div. through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on twitter @DaveJJenkins. Find him on Facebook or read more of his work at servantsofgrace.org.