I am sure you have heard the statement “bloom where you are planted” before. The thought is that we need to make the most of the situation in which we find ourselves. As I was reading 1 Corinthians this morning, I found a similar concept mentioned in 1 Cor. 7:17 which says,
“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.”
Two things stand out in this verse. The first is that the Lord has “assigned” each of us our life circumstances. The word “assigned” means, “to distribute, to give to each in turn” (Louw and Nida). In a sense, it is describing the “hand you were dealt.” Each of us has been given a unique set of circumstances in life. Paul is encouraging the readers and us today to accept our situation in life as though it were assigned to us by God.
The second thing that impressed me is the usage of the word “called.” The hand that we have been dealt is a calling from God. It is from this verse that the idea of a life vocation as a “calling” from God is found. Those who serve in the secular world are not second class Christians but are fulfilling the role to which God has called them as they live our their faith in that setting.
This encouragement from Paul does not mean that we cannot seek to improve our life circumstances because Paul does encourage slaves to get their freedom if that is an option. Therefore, it would seem that bettering our life setting is commendable and should be pursued. Paul is encouraging us though to accept what cannot be changed as an assignment and calling from God. We can learn contentment as we trust God with the things in our lives that cannot change and as we seek to live out life faithfully in that setting.
Father, thank you again for your wisdom. Knowing that my life setting is not some random act, but assigned by you is very encouraging. You loved me enough to give me an appointment in life. I need to do my best to fulfill your assigned task for me in a way that brings you pleasure. Even so, I would be wise to seek to improve my life setting when possible, but I should also trust you with what is out of my control rather than fight against it.
Following Jesus with you,