As I write this, I’m seated on the balcony of a home in a tropical paradise. The house is located in a place called Duck Key off the southern tip of Florida. The sun is shining, the breeze is gently blowing, and I am doing the most relaxed work possible. This is the life. No wonder Earnest Hemingway lived near here. It’s a writer’s dream. I could really get used to this place and living like this.
But unlike Hemingway, I’m on vacation. I have to leave here in a few short days. If I had the money, I could buy a wild Hawaiian shirt, let my bead grow, and actually get a tan (if my pasty, white, Northern Italian skin would allow it). I could stay here, get to know the natives, and do some “beach ministry.”
Alas, I don’t have that kind of money. Even if I did, I’m not sure I would buy a wild Hawaiian shirt anyway. Maybe I would…maybe I wouldn’t… Either way, I’d be a tad out of place here. I don’t even swim. I suppose I’d have to learn if I stayed. When in Rome…right?
The truth is, I’m quite adaptable. I could live almost anywhere. The stark exception to that would be one of the Poles (North or South). You can have those. But if the Lord sends me there, I guess I would adapt to that as well (but He’d have to make it perfectly clear it was His will…my will is pretty strong in the area of weather—a sledge hammer might work). At any rate, the old saying is “bloom where you’re planted.” I just prefer being planted in a warm climate.This whole planting stuff applies to a lot more than weather, however. Could you serve the Lord in the inner city? They need a witness or two there. Could you serve the Lord in the farmland of Pennsylvania where the farmhouses are miles apart? They could use a witness or two there. Could you serve the Lord among the Valley girls of California, the Hell’s Angels (wherever they ride), or the coal miners of Kentucky? They all could use a witness or two.
The point is this. Our travels, and the Lord, put us in a wide variety of places, cultures and mindsets. We’re not always as comfortable as I am in this temporary tropical paradise. In fact, when we’re doing the Lord’s work, we’re seldom comfortable at all. The only real comfort we have is in the fact that we’re doing what He has called us to do.
We often hear about getting out of our comfort zone to serve people (and consequently, the Lord). We hear it, give lip service to it, and often even believe it’s what we should do. But seldom do we actually follow through. It’s just not the tropical paradise we were hoping to be called upon to serve. Where (and who) are we called to serve?