Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Planted-for His Glory

Right after I posted "Yanked Out!" I came across this in my devotional- My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers:

          "Notice God's unutterable waste of saints, according to the judgment of the world. God plants His saints in the most useless places. We say-God intends me to be here because I am so useful. Jesus never estimated His life along the line of the greatest use. God puts His saints where they will glorify Him, and we are no judges at all of where that is."

I cracked-up when I read this because it reminded me that I know nothing (which shouldn't be funny)...but really, it is very sobering!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Yanked Out! (And living to tell about it)

"And we pray this in order that
you may live a life worthy of the Lord
and may please him in every way;
bearing fruit in every good work,
growing in the knowledge of God,..."
1 Colossians 1:10

      They were volunteers, growing in the wrong place, so I had to pull them out. They were capable of producing fruit, but would have prevented the other plants from having room to grow. It was hard for me to remove them because I love plants, but these tomato seedlings decided on their own to grow in a spot in the garden that was designed for other plants.

      This reminded me of a time when I planted myself in a place God hadn't planned for me to grow. I volunteered for something I had no business doing. I took up space intended for someone else; someone God had gifted for that area of service. I even produced fruit occasionally, but it never really ripened, and my own growth was somewhat stunted. I was attempting to do a job God had not planned for me (if I had bothered to ask Him, He would have told me so) - it was not my job, and He was not going to bless it. As a matter-of-fact, He yanked me out!

      When God pulled me from that place it was like He stuck me in a pot and sat me aside. As soon as it dawned on me what had happened and I started praying for His will in my life, He took me to the spot He planned for me to grow and transplanted me there. It wasn't a place where I pushed others out as I grew, there was plenty of room, and those growing in the same plot of ground grew happily along side me. We shaded one another in the heat of the day, and grew close enough to lean on each other when the wind blew, but not crowd each other out.

      God had given me a second chance. And with that in mind, I stuck my little volunteers in a pot of soil and gave them a drink of water. If they survive the shock of being uprooted, I'll transplant them somewhere else. A place where they can grow and produce fruit.

      I think it's good to ask occasionally, "Am I growing where He planted me, or have I volunteered in someone else's place?" He's gifted each one of us and planned a special job for us to do, and He knows exactly where He wants us to do it. It's always better to get direction from Him, than to find ourselves minding someone else's business and feeling the tug of His hand as He yankes us out!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Would You Like Salt With That?

"You are the salt of the earth."
Matthew 5:13

      I got to thinking about salt last week because it was mentioned in the scripture I focused on during my prayer time. Jesus used it as an example of how Christians should be in the world - salty. I asked myself why salt? Why something so common place? He could have said chili peppers or something with a little more pizazz...but no, he chose salt. It is one of the most basic ingredients in cooking, and for the most part, when it's forgotten the recipe can still turn out, but boy does my husband miss it when I forget to put it in! As a matter of fact, he salts his food before he even tastes it...just in case.

    If I forget pepper, garlic, or some other seasoning, it may be missed but not as much as salt. Salt is what brings out the flavor of food - enhances it. In the same way, I think Jesus wants us to be the salt of the world. To bring out the truth of His Word and enhance the lives of those around us with His love; adding flavor to their lives through sharing the knowledge of Jesus Christ. When salt is sprinkled on food, it's almost impossible to take it out, and when our lives sprinkle God's goodness on others, they can't easily remove the effects of it. Like it or not, they have been salted!

      The scripture goes on to say that we can lose our saltiness. While I thought about this, it occurred to me that the only way I know to make salt less salty is to water it down. Could Jesus be referring to us losing our saltiness when we become watered down with other things? When we have too many other ingredients filling up our lives and not enough salt to flavor it, or when we water down the Truth we speak so it doesn't offend the hearer? Are we allowing our shakers to become empty vessels? I'll leave you these questions to contemplate, and this one Jesus asked, "But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?" (v. 13)  He goes on to say, "It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men."

      Perhaps my husband's habit of automatically adding salt isn't a bad idea (spiritually). When we go about our days, lets remember to leave a pinch of salt on every life we come in contact with, and season this world for our Lord - we are the salt of the earth!