Called to Flourish - Planting Seeds
In Luke 13, Jesus described what the kingdom of God is like: “It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches” (v. 19). The mustard seed is as small a seed as can be found. But it grows into a big tree. Jesus was making the point that small acts can have large results. Our callings are like this; they may start with a small thought, a suggestion from someone about what we can do with our lives. But the crucial image is that we “took and planted in [our] garden.”
Often we spend time looking at the seed—that is, the calling—looking at the seed packet, wondering where exactly we should plant it, dreaming about how big it might grow. But we have to take it out of the packet and plant it. No seed will germinate and grow until it is planted. That sounds so obvious. But we should never be afraid of the obvious. Opportunity may be right under our noses, but we miss it.
Jesus told us that the man plants the seed “in his garden.” We are called to take the small steps close to home. Sometimes we think we need to take giant steps in far-flung places, when in fact, as was the case in the parable, we are called to plant in our own backyards—the place we know best.
Let us not bury our gifts; our gifts don’t just serve our own needs for fulfillment; they have a wider purpose to influence, inspire, encourage, and bless those around us. None of us is perfect; all of us have blind spots or weaknesses. But these failings only hold us back if we think they prevent God from using us. What we have, however small, we must keep giving to the Lord for his miraculous purposes. The boy was obedient, and God honored him.
Don’t let the people around you constrain your calling by their views of you. Only you know the gifts that God has given to you. Calling and gifting run together. The question is, will you be intentional about using them?
Let us remember that the economy of the kingdom of God is based not on power but on potential. So many of the biblical heroes were reluctant to step into their callings because they didn’t believe they could ever amount to anything significant. Using what we have been given (however small), encouraging others to use their gifts, and being obedient to that heavenly calling are vital. So many people are afraid to answer their callings because they feel too old or too young, not cool enough or smart enough or important enough to be of use to God. But with God, our seemingly insignificant contributions can make a significant impact. Our small actions can have big consequences.