"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!