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  • Deanna Kohlhofer

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Sometimes we need to go back to the beginning in order to see lessons from the end. That is exactly what we are going to do as we continue to travel through Lent together. I hope you will pick up your bible and journey with me. Today, we are going to go back to Genesis. Take a look at chapter two, verses 8-17.

Here we have God creating a majestic place. Can you picture it? A beautiful garden. All the glorious fruit you love. A “special tree” right smack dab in the middle. A river that keeps the trees lush and the harvest plenty. What a beautiful reminder that God takes care of that which he plants. We can surely trust he will provide for us right where he has planted us – and we will flourish. I know this because of the reminder that is right here in the beginning. Verse eight says,

Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he placed the man he had created.

Well, why did he place the man there? Verse fifteen tells us.

Then the Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and care for it.

Adam was in the most beautifully perfect place on earth and the bible tells us he was placed there to work – to tend and care for the garden. I often think about what Eden was like. I imagine perfection and long to be transported to that beauty. I dream about quiet strolls in nature, picking berries, and enjoying picturseque sunsets at the end of long days filled with sunshine. I never imagine the work it probably took to keep the garden perfect, but it wasn’t a free ride for Adam the way I picture it would be for me. His days weren’t spent basking in the sun, admiring the beauty of nature without a care in the world. No! He had work to do. I imagine he picked fruit, and pulled weeds, and trimmed bushes. He had to learn the intricacies of how to care for the vast garden so it would provide food and remain lovely to look at while strolling on perfectly trimmed paths. I am certain his days were quite busy. God chose the garden for Adam and he gave Adam the talent needed to do the work. Don’t miss that.

Florida is my favorite place, specifically, Fort Myers Beach. I have only been there twice but I fell in love immediately. I have many hopes and dreams of retiring there someday. I can vividly see myself in this “Eden” of my dreams, surrounded by white sand, palm trees, and all the sunshine. I have goals of writing by the pool and breaking for ice cream daily, but instead I am here, in the flatlands of Ohio where sunshine is not guaranteed on any given day, the trees are bare for half the year, and I don’t eat nearly as much ice cream as my heart desires. But you know what? I am writing. Not for a living {yet} and not by a pool or with my toes in the sand on a gorgeous beach, but writing none-the-less. Writing is the talent God has blessed me with and I would not be honoring God if I did not use this gift.

God gifted Adam with the talent to tend to the garden. It may not seem like much, but I’d bet it took a lot of skill and knowledge. I have a friend who loves rose bushes. I didn’t know there were so many kinds – but just listening to her opens my eyes to a new world. I would consider her an expert of sorts when it comes to roses. She would be able to answer your questions and if she couldn’t, she would know where to go to find the answer. Gardening isn’t my thing, but it is hers. Fresh roses from her garden bring joy and happiness to many. They color places of darkness, even if momentairly. They offer hope and open doors to conversation. It may look like just another ordinary rose - but to my friend, every rose is an opportunity to share a bit of herself and a lot of Jesus. She is using the talent she was blessed with to bless others.

We can take pleasure in doing the work God has called us to do - gardening, writing, teaching, cleaning up after others, caring for the sick, checking in on the elderly. We all have something we love to do - and that may or may not be your vocation. The point is that God gave you a passion to make a difference in the world and he will honor it when that passion is put to use. God never intended for us to be idle, nor did he intend for us to keep our talents to ourselves. As you continue to walk through this season of Lent, reflect on who you are. Who God perfectly created you to be and what talents he gave you to use. Are you using your gifts and talents in the place he has grounded you? Or are you grumbling? Stubbornly idle? Selfish?

Look around you. Rest in the place he has settled you. Bloom where you are planted. No, you may not see the Eden of your dreams, but if you look long enough, you will see God.