“Bloom Where You’re Planted”

Purple Malva
The purple malva is beautiful both in our flower garden where Brooksyne intentionally plants them and when they grow “volunteer” across the country lane along the edge of the corn field from clippings we discard.

ListenListen to us share this message on your audio player

“Bloom Where You’re Planted!”

“And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).

Regular readers are aware of Brooksyne’s interest in flowers. Each winter she plans and prepares for her spring plantings.   Due to adequate rains and a cooler summer our lawn and gardens have had a spring-like vibrancy all summer. In fact I could mow my lawn twice a week it’s growing so quickly!  But lots of growth means lots of weeding and trimming and then disposal of all the biodegradable clippings.

Then we notice. We are blessed not only by flowers that Brooksyne intentionally plants all around our home but “volunteers” that spring up wherever we dispose of the clippings.  We also see hardy flowers growing in inhospitable places such as the narrow cracks in our brick walkway!  We wonder how these flowers ever got there in the first place but then remember that the wind and birds plant seeds as well. We have many sunflowers that sprung up wherever the birds decided to dine on their birdseed.

“Bloom Where You’re Planted.” I recall first hearing this phrase from my years in Bible College. The saying has the sense that we are to let God use us and seek to be fruitful wherever we are.  Sometimes we may find ourselves providentially planted where we would rather not be. A true test of character is whether we wilt or bloom in these places.

An example of this is Esther.  Esther is a remarkable book.  Most Bible students are aware of the fact that God is not specifically mentioned by name in the entire book (the only book of the Bible with this distinction.) Esther was one of the Jewish exiles in Persia who, due to her natural beauty, was unexpectedly placed in a position she probably never imagined herself being in. She was selected to be the queen!

Just as Ruth reminds us that God is at work in the lives of “ordinary people”, Esther reveals God is also at work among the “higher classes.”  Both remind us that His work is often “behind the scenes.”  He is, as a song states, “quietly sovereign.”

I recall hearing a teaching a number of years ago on “Esther moments”. These are those special times when God’s purpose for our life is most apparent. This concept is based on the daily text when Mordecai encouraged Esther to take a stand. The Jews faced annihilation (as they so often have throughout history) and Esther was in a position to act for their preservation by appealing to the king.

Esther’s Uncle Mordecai* was confident that, in one way or another, the deliverance of the Jews would come. He goes on to say, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place.” Amazingly in the bigger picture God’s grand purposes are always fulfilled with or without our cooperation. However Mordecai challenged Esther to be the agent of God’s deliverance as expressed in the daily text, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”

Scripture records that Esther did listen to Mordecai and heeded his challenge to present herself to the king, even if it meant death.  I like the resolute attitude she verbalized when she made up her mind to be the mediator for her people:  “If I perish, I perish.” When we’re weighing various options there’s a point that we’ve got to make up our mind and act upon that decision regardless of the consequence.

May our hearts be as resolute as Esther’s and other Biblical characters such as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who refused to bow down to the golden image.  Their unyielding response was, “The God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:17,18). Paul’s attitude about the possibility of being martyred for his faith was, “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

Through these outstanding examples of believers who expressed devout faith and underscored it by their actions, God sends a message to all who follow Him; we are not to fear the trials the world offers, but we are to persevere even if it means death.

Today all over the world God is working through His people, accomplishing His purpose. At times we can especially sense His work through us in a specific way. What a great joy these experiences bring to our spiritual walk. May the Lord grant to all of us these “Esther moments” when we bloom where we are planted. Often we may not immediately sense the significance of our obedience but obedience always brings blessing.  Let us stay faithful!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Jesus, in certain situations I am fearful when You speak to my heart about being obedient.  When You compel me like you did Esther to do or say something that’s not within my comfort zone I become fearful of the outcome which prevents me from stepping out in faith and following through with an obedient heart.  Would You remind me that there is great blessing when I follow Your leading.  Help me not to fear the outcome, for that is in Your hands.  Thank You for Your prompting and for entrusting me to be a part of your grand purpose.

*Some versions refer to Mordecai as Esther’s cousin.

Today’s entire Scripture context is from Esther 4

“Blooming Where Planted”
Here are some examples of our “volunteer” plants.

Morning glory growing up corn stalkToday’s message was prompted when I was out for an early morning walk with Roxie and saw morning glories growing up the corn stalks in the farm field across from our home.  I like the star-like effect the purple gives this otherwise white bloom. We have purple, pink and white blooms all along the road in the corn rows.

Portulaca growing in cracks between bricks
These Portulaca are growing between cracks in our brick walkway.  This is probably the third year we’ve seen these little volunteer plants.
Morning glory growing on other side of fence
Morning glories seem to thrive on the other side of our backyard fence where I only see them when I mow.

Growing wild This plant grew up along the side of the road across from us from clippings we had placed there.

Yellow pansy growing in brick walkway
This yellow pansy is still looking great today growing in a crack in our dry lay brick walkway even though I took this photo in June. We have to regularly pull weeds out of the cracks all through the summer but we let this persistent pansy stay!  Pansies normally die out in early summer since they’re a cool weather flower so this one is a real “overcomer”.

Rachel Caldwell with parents
Yesterday our friend Rachel Caldwell and her parents, Ron and Sherry, dropped by for a visit. Ron has shown interest in our small fish pond and wanted to take a look. Brooksyne walked the ladies through the yard to show them her herbs and flowers.

Brooksyne’s Note: One of the common attitudes the residents express in nursing homes is, “This is where I live, but this isn’t home.” How could it be in comparison to their individual homes where they grew their families and lived their lives for 50 years or more!  Often I select the hymn, “Brighten the Corner Where You Are” and occasionally share the background story where Ina Ogdon expressed the true meaning of the message we shared today about blooming where you’re planted. I challenge the residents of the nursing home that instead of feeling “cornered” or trapped in a nursing home that God has called them to brighten the corner at their dining room table, in their hallways and in the midst of activities for this is where God has led them during their golden years.  Here’s the story:

In 1912 Ina Duley Ogdon received an invitation to be a Chataqua Circuit speaker.  This was a great opportunity for her since Chataqua Lake was a place in upstate New York where performers, musicians, lecturers and motivational speakers were invited who were famous throughout the country.  At the time it was the most popular spot where people by the thousands came to visit. Theodore Roosevelt called it “the most American thing in America.”

Miss Ogdon, a brilliant orator, had felt God’s calling on her life. Upon receiving the invitation, she excitedly considered the thousands of people that she might influence for the cause of Christ.  But as she was packing for the upcoming tour her father was seriously injured in one of the new-fangled “horseless carriages.”  Ina, deeply disappointed and somewhat angered toward God for allowing this tragedy to happen, eventually cancelled her travel plans to care for her father.  After making her peace with God about the matter, she determined in her heart that she would be happy and remain “true to the many duties near” her.  She would do her best to “brighten the corner” where God placed her.

Ina completed this poem over the next year.  It became the theme song of Billy Sunday’s evangelistic ministry for twenty-two years.  Instead of reaching only thousands in her lifetime Ina Duley Ogdon’s inspired words have reached out to millions from 1913 right up to our lifetime.

“Brighten the Corner”  Video by a mission choir in South Africa
by Ina Duley Ogden – 1913

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do.
Do not wait to shed your light afar.
To the many duties ever near you now be true;
Brighten the corner where you are.

Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear;
Let not narrow self your way debar.
Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
Here reflect the Bright and Morning Star.
Ever from your humble hand the bread of life may feed;
Brighten the corner where you are.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

Note regarding our daughter’s name: For our newer readers we’d like to share about how our daughter Ester got her name.  She was born in a Guatemalan orphanage along the Rio Dulce (Sweet River).  When Ester’s birth mother arrived at the orphanage she was six months pregnant. A volunteer from Germany took special interest in her because she looked quite unhealthy and she feared for the baby’s health as well.  She prepared nutritious meals and became personally involved in her care.  Because of this the director of the orphanage named the baby Ester after the caring volunteer whose name was also Ester. Her name is spelled like the Spanish spelling rather than the Biblical character we consider her named after and is pronounced “Es-tair”. About 18 months after Ester’s birth Brooksyne and I visited the orphanage and stayed in the “Guest House” which was built out over the river. What a glimpse of third world living conditions we experienced!

Ester is now 20 and we regularly seek to reinforce that God has a purpose for her life. Due to health problems related to her heart along with some learning disabilities she’s had some developmental setbacks. She may be somewhat limited but is in no way limited from doing what God through His strength has called her to do. Every one of us can proclaim this truth, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Ask her what she is and she will quickly tell you, “I’m an overcomer!”

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

Please help us continue this free encouragement ministry

Ministry Update