One of my favorite contemporary writers is a dear friend who is presently not writing, having been reassigned by his company to editorial duties. He recently wrote an article for a magazine, however, and my friend obviously retains the gift God bestowed upon him for penning words that reach deep into the heart.
“My tongue is the pen of a ready writer” (Psalm 45:1).
Sometimes in life, no venue seems to exist for using obviously God-given abilities. We may feel ourselves placed upon the shelf, as it were, with gifts still present, but apparently wasted. We know better than to force the issue by attempting to artificially create our own opportunities. Nevertheless, the question nags and perhaps even at times depresses. “Why did God give me these gifts if He doesn’t intend for me to use them?”
“All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household” (Philippians 4:22).
The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians closes with a not so veiled affirmation that he had pillaged “Caesar’s household” for the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather than viewing himself as on the shelf when cast into prison, Paul recognized that lost opportunities to lead people to Christ in Asia Minor provided opportunity to do the same in the prison of Rome. As Frances often says, Paul “bloomed where he was planted.”
The friend I mentioned understands this truth and, like Paul, presently blooms where he is planted. Rather than mourn over lost opportunity, he views his editorial calling as God’s way for him at this particular hour in life. I have little doubt he will again write regularly at some point in the future. Rather than pine for that day, however, my friend recognizes the truth that this day provides opportunity for the believer’s most important gifting and calling: “Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31). This attitude and perspective blesses the writers he edits, and more importantly, their readers benefit from his determination to bloom in faith rather than wilt in sorrow.
Whether or not we find ourselves in the garden that seems most appropriate for our particular gifts, the joy of our hearts and the blessing of others result from our determination to trust and submit ourselves unto the God whose “way is perfect” (II Samuel 22:31). We close with the prophet’s assurance that our Lord can plant gardens where no vine, no branch, and no flower seems possible…
“The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.”