My former boss had a framed picture in his office similiar to the one above and, at the bottom, it said…Bloom where you’re planted. I always appreciated the sentiment of the statement, but did not realize that it is actually a biblical instruction that we are given.
This morning my devotional book led me to the parable of the sower (Mark 4:14-20 – Amplified Bible)…
The sower sows the Word.
The ones along the path are those who have the Word sown in their hearts, but when they hear, Satan comes at once and by force takes away the message which is sown in them.
And in the same way the ones sown upon stony ground are those who, when they hear the Word, at once receive and accept and welcome it with joy; And they have no real root in themselves, and so they endure for a little while; then when trouble or persecution arises on account of the Word, they immediately are offended (become displeased, indignant, resentful) and they stumble and fall away.
And the ones sown among the thorns are others who hear the Word; Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.
And those sown on the good (well-adapted) soil are the ones who hear the Word and receive and accept and welcome it and bear fruit–some thirty times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much, and some [even] a hundred times as much.
I have always had a concern. I have feared that, when a huge trial came my way…when I was really put to the test…I would fail Him. I worried that, when it came right down to it, I would prove myself to be a hypocrite.
The last couple of days, I have been very convicted about how I am handling this current season in my life. I look back over recent blog posts…I think back to conversations I have had with God lately…and, well, I’m embarrassed. I imagine a new Christian or a non-believer reading and thinking…Well, she has no more hope in the midst of her trial than anyone else. She is discouraged and beaten down. I have not been a very good example of grace in the midst of difficulty.
As I read the parable above, I thought…Am I the stony ground? Did I receive the good news quickly, but have stumbled at the first sign of trouble? Am I among the thorns? Have I allowed anxiety and worry to render me useless?
I long to be the good soil…but, how do I know if I am?
- Do I continue to hear the Word? Am I, in the midst of my struggle, still seeking and receiving guidance from the Lord? I have to say that, over the last several weeks, I have almost ran to my spot on the couch in the morning to spend time with the Lord. And that is, in no way, an attempt to appear holy. Quite the opposite…it shows the desperation I feel to hear from Him.
- Am I accepting what I am being told? This has been a struggle…I will admit that. I think I have been fighting what I know I am being asked to do out of fear…out of doubt. Yet…I am still doing it. I am still jumping and expected God to catch me like He says that He will.
- Do I continue to bear fruit in the midst of my struggle? We are told that…into every life, a little rain must fall. Yet…all too often, when the rain comes, we huddle under our umbrella made for one and hunker down until the storm passes. We don’t look around us to see who has been left out in the rain. We are so concerned with being completely untouched by the rain. It doesn’t occur to us that if we looked away from ourselves for just a moment…invited someone else to share our umbrella…what a source of comfort we could be to someone. Yes…when you share the umbrella…you might get a little wet…they might get a little wet…but, neither one of you get drenched. And, who knows, you might just have a laugh together as you stand in the rain and wait for the storm to pass. We are to continue to be fruitful…to love others…to seek to serve.
We are never given permission to stop being fruitful…
But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit. –Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV
If our hope is in the Lord…
even under a blazing sun…we will be green…growing…and full of life.
If we trust the Lord and if, in Him, is where we have placed our confidence…
we will not worry when the drought comes…
and we will. never. stop. bearing. fruit.