I CORINTHIANS 7:17-24: “Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches. For instance, a man who was circumcised before he became a believer should not try to reverse it. And the man who was uncircumcised when he became a believer should not be circumcised now. For it makes no difference whether or not a man has been circumcised. The important thing is to keep God’s commandments. Yes, each of you should remain as you were when God called you. Are you a slave? Don’t let that worry you—but if you get a chance to be free, take it. And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ. God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world. Each of you, dear brothers and sisters, should remain as you were when God first called you.” NLT
OBSERVATION: Am I living a life of contentment? Am I finding purpose and fruitfulness in the situation I find myself in? Is the landscaping of my life growing and blossoming or does the grass always look greener somewhere else?
Everyone in life wants to find joy and fulfillment. There is an innate desire to feel that our life matters. Yet, so many times we miss the blessings of life because we are longing for the things that we do not have rather than learning to cultivate and enjoy that which God has already given to us. We are like farmers, holding seed in our hand, and never sowing – because we keep dreaming of the perfect plot of land.
The reality is there is no perfect life, vocation, or situation. The truth is everyone is insecure and longing for something they do not have. There are those who feel trapped in a dying marriage and long for a new partner. Others feel trapped in a dead end job and are constantly looking for new opportunties. And, some, never use the gifts God has given them, longing for the big break when the doors of opportunity will swing open.
All of us need to hear Paul’s exhortation!
- “Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you.”
Paul’s first focus regarding this statement was to those who found themselves in a marriage where one was a believer and the other was not. The first inclination for many was to leave the unbeliever. Surely God would not want them to continue in a marriage where their spouse did not love the Lord. Yet, Paul encouraged them to stay married to the unbelieving spouse, if they were willing to stay in the marriage. Why? It was so their unbelieving spouse might be saved!
- “Don’t you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don’t you husbands realize that your wives might be saved because of you?” 1 Corinthians 7:16 NLT
In this exhortation Paul was not giving his blessing on Christians marrying non-believers. He was simply exhorting those who had come to Christ, while they were already married, to remain faithful to their marriage and allow God to use their changed lives to draw their spouse to the Lord. The most important thing was the believer’s personal fruitfulness in their life and their witness to those in their family.
Paul pivots from his focus on marriage to an overriding principle. If this is true in marriage, it is true for others as well. Paul exhorts everyone to stay in the situation they were in when God called them. Were you a Jew? Don’t try to become a Gentile. Where you a slave? Don’t focus on breaking free but trust the Lord. Live as one who is free in Christ, and allow God to set you free!
- “God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world. Each of you, dear brothers and sisters, should remain as you were when God first called you.” 1 Corinthians 7:23-24 NLT
Paul was not saying that slavery was something good. Paul was not even focused on the social issue of slavery when he wrote this. His focus was on living out the freedom we have received in Jesus Christ – right where we are. The goal is to live as those who are committed to Christ and bloom where we are planted. We are to use our gifts and talents in the field of life where we are now and trust the Lord for His blessing and promotion.
One common mistake I see people make after they come to faith in Jesus Christ is a desire to escape the world. They long to leave their old jobs and work in a Christian enviornment. They want to surround themselves with fellow believers and block the world out. Yet, if every believer did this, if they refused to bloom where they already were planted, who would be God’s light in a dark and dying world?
When I think about this I am drawn to remember the life of Joseph. Sold into slavery by his brothers, Joseph found himself in the position of a common slave. No longer was he the favored son. He could have become bitter and spent his time longing for what he did not have. Rather, he employed himself in being the best he could be in the place he was in. As a slave to Potiphar, and then as a prisoner in jail, Joseph bloomed where he was planted. Finally, according to God’s plan, and bearing the fruit of his faithfulness, Joseph was elevated to become second in command in all of Egypt.
We all will not become great figures in human history. However, we all can bloom where we are planted. We can be faithful in our marriages, productive in our jobs, faithful in our ministry, and live a life that is a glowing witness that we have been bought with a great price – the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ! Our calling is not to long for what we do not have. Our calling is to use the gifts and talents God has given us and bloom in the field that He has placed us in.
As we are faithful, as we employ our lives in working the field we find ourselves in, God will bless us and open new doors of opportunity. The Lord is not looking for talented people. He is looking for faithful stewards. It is the faithful steward, who simply invested that which he was given, that heard the words –
- “Well done good and faithful servant!”
What would happen in our lives, our marriages, our jobs, and our churches, if we all began to live a life of faithfulness, contentment, and bloomed where we were planted? I believe we would find ourselves lifted above the humdrum of our daily lives to a life of purpose, fulfillment, and contentment. A new anointing would rest upon our lives and churches. And, we would experience a harvest of souls being ushered into the Kingdom of God.
Lord, help me to bloom where I am planted!
In Jesus Name!