Pastor Tim Howard
October 17, 2009
When I moved from Gardiner, Maine to the Los Angeles area in 1970, I experienced a great deal of shock. Many people love this area yet for me it was a nice place to visit but not a great place to live. Let me explain!
The area is very fast-paced; a whole lot of people, and the stress level can be very, very high. Some call it exciting, some call it challenging and others call it sheer craziness. For a boy like me who was raised in a city with the total population numbering 6000, it was a whirlwind and overload to my small city mind set.
Shortly after my relocation, I was confronted with a choice. Would I return home to the comfort of the past and things familiar to my youth or embrace the new environment and learn to adapt? Returning to the familiar is very tempting when you feel like a fish out of water, but it inevitably retards the growth process and adventures that lie ahead. During that season of time, someone made a comment that helped me make the decision, which was right for me. He simply said, ‘Bloom Where You Are Planted’
When you find yourself planted in an environment that is unfamiliar and a location that is not to your liking, how do you respond? Do you react? Do you retreat to the comfort of yesterday? Do you think the grass is greener on the other side or have you learned that the grass is greener where you water it?
Paul the apostle found himself in some unpleasant situations and locations that were very unappealing. He was imprisoned on several occasions, not for doing wrong but for proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. He didn’t allow his location or circumstances, to determine his attitude or outlook on life. He bloomed where he was planted.
In prison Paul wrote some of the most encouraging books in the Bible. Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, to name a few. In Philippians 4:11, we read these words: "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." His secret was God! That’s why he tells us in Philippians 4:4 to “rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.”
You may not like the situation you're in right now, your location, your job, your church or your marriage but you still have a choice! You can choose to react to the circumstances, retreat from the present and return to the past or reach for what God has in store for you. You can choose to bloom where you are planted or die on the vine. Don’t let your circumstances determine the level of joy you experience. Invite God to give you strength to do everything that needs to be done in any situation, at any time and in any location. It worked for Paul and it will work for you.