I’ll admit it. I hate cleaning gutters. Standing on ladders? Walking around on a roof? Scooping up handfuls of goop? No thanks!
But there always comes a time when I know it’s time to pull out the ladder, walk around the roof, and shovel out the goop. It’s when I can see upstart plants growing out of the gutters.
See, the trees around our house don’t just drop leaves in the gutters. They also deposit their seeds, and the gutter goop is a perfect environment for those seeds to sprout. So between cleanings, I sometimes see wanna-be trees blooming out of the top of my house. That’s when I know it’s time to take action.
Of course, those little plants are just doing what comes natural to them. They’re growing where they were planted. They fell into an environment that worked well for them, so they grew.
God wants His people to do the same thing. He wants us to minister and grow where He plants us. Ezekiel and Daniel provide great biblical examples of how to make that happen.
EZEKIEL AND THE EXILES
Ezekiel’s prophecies had a lot to do with judgment, so you can understand why his messages were less than popular among the other exiles. In addition, the Lord sometimes directed Ezekiel to use dramatic actions to illustrate his message.
Once, Ezekiel symbolized the siege of Jerusalem by lying on his side for 390 days (Ezekiel 4:1-5). Then he spent 40 days on his other side (Ezekiel 4:6-8). That had to be uncomfortable. Another time, God told him to shave his head and weigh the hair (Ezekiel 5:1). He eventually burned a third of it, sliced up a third of it, and threw a third of it to the wind (Ezekiel 5:2). That probably didn’t make a whole lot of sense. And in the most extreme case, Ezekiel’s wife died, but God commanded him to only grieve silently (Ezekiel 24:15-16).
Through all these twists and turns, Ezekiel never wavered. He obeyed God and ministered to the people. He grew where he was planted, even when it uncomfortable and didn’t make sense.
DANIEL AND THE ROYAL COURT
Daniel’s ministry lasted approximately 70 years. The entire time, he worked with powerful leaders like Nebuchadnezzar and the Persian king, Darius. His setting was very different from Ezekiel’s, but he remained just as faithful to God’s direction.
While God led Ezekiel to use drama, He helped Daniel develop a reputation for interpreting dreams. But ministering in the palace also meant Daniel had to show incredible courage.
Daniel’s ability to interpret dreams encouraged Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:31-49) and judged him (Daniel 4:4-37). Later, under Darius, Daniel again had to stand strong by violating a law against prayer. That decision sent Daniel to the lion’s den, but even the threat of death didn’t make him waver (Daniel 6:1-28).
Rubbing elbows with kings didn’t distract Daniel from his true purpose — to make God famous. Like Ezekiel, Daniel grew where God had planted him, even when it was uncomfortable and didn’t make sense.
GROW WHERE YOU’RE PLANTED
As a young adult, you face plenty of challenges to your faith. You might even feel like Ezekiel and Daniel — living for God as a stranger in a foreign land.
But that’s OK. In the middle of your young adult experience, God has called you to reflect Him to those around you. He wants you to make Him famous and has intentionally put you in the perfect place to do just that.
You might not always understand what He’s doing. Just remember that He’s challenging you to grow where you’re planted — and He’s provided everything you need to make that happen.
Bob Bunn is has served as a writer and editor in Christian publishing for many years and currently works as the church curriculum specialist for Dave Ramsey’s team in Brentwood, Tenn. He has a passion for preparing 12th-graders to grow where they’re planted as a Sunday School leader at First Baptist Church, Nashville, Tenn. He and his wife, Mary, are proud parents of Bobby, Caleb, and Lora.