In January of 1995, I pulled into Scott City, Missouri, in my wife’s ‘81 Malibu. The car was loaded with a suitcase full of clothes and a few boxes of books and office materials.
As I pulled into town, my heart was pounding. My wife was back in Indiana continuing to work and preparing our home for its sale.
I missed her already. Yet, I was excited. It was our first full time youth ministry position.
I settled into our apartment that night and played a game of basketball with a student, who was at the gym awaiting my arrival.
In the morning, I was up early to pray and then meet with my pastor.
After our meeting, the pastor brought me into a room that would be my office. I started unpacking my books and moving in.
I was young, excited, but also scared out of my mind. Would I be able to fulfill all that is expected of me? That was the thought that flowed through my mind as I replayed the early morning staff meeting over and over in my mind.
As I continued to unpack, I would eventually open up a box that had my Bibles in it and there laying on top of the stack of Bibles was a white envelope.
I opened the envelope to find a card inside. It was from my wife, Heidi. It was a card telling me how proud she was of me and that certainly brightened my day.
However, it was a picture inside of the card that altered my life forever.
It was a picture of a very beautiful rose garden and in the center were the words, “Bloom where you are planted.”
For the first several years of our ministry, I would take a few minutes every day to look at the picture. It reminded me of my purpose.
I did not just want to exist. I did not want to just earn a paycheck. I did not just want to provide for my wife and eventually my two children. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to cause change to happen in the lives of people.
Too many people just want to take care of themselves. However, you miss the blessing of making your community a better place.
God did not place you on this earth to just exist. God placed you here on this earth and especially your community to love and to serve people and as you do, over time your community becomes stronger.
In those early years of ministry, through the challenges, I would be encouraged by Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
It was a work that God had begun in me. It was not my work; it was not my career I had to build. It was God’s work.
What a thought!
Our life is God’s work, and if we allow God to do his work in us, he will carry it onto completion.
There will be victories, and there will be set backs. There will be mountaintops and valleys. There will be challenges, and there will be breakthroughs.
However, it’s God’s work, and he will carry it onto completion.
Some must be faithful to plant; some must be faithful to water, but remember it is God who brings the increase.
January of 2021 it will be 26 years since I pulled into Scott City in that ‘81 Chevy Malibu.
I have spent 26 years of my life in Missouri. Twenty-one of those years have been in rural towns here in Southeast Missouri, and if it would be God’s will, I plan to spend the rest of my days ministering and serving the people of Carter County and the Southeast Missouri region.
As for that little picture of the rose garden that said, “Bloom where you are planted?”
I am not sure what happened to it. It may be in a box somewhere packed away in the garage.
Yet, the message no longer lives on a card or in a picture. I do not have to look at the picture every day because the message is now part of me. It is a part of a work ethic, and it lives in my heart, in my blood, my sweat and tears.
It has been passed to younger generations and now senior saints.
“Bloom where you are planted” comes to pass in enduring all things. It is proven in the fruit of perseverance.
We bloom where we are planted when we come to the knowledge and understanding that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I have learned that blooming where you are planted has more to do with Jesus and less about location.
It is in Christ that I can do all things! It is in Christ that I can faithfully serve what I call the four areas of community— my family, my church, my community and the kingdom of God.
Ephesians 1:7-8 in the TPT version has become a foundation for me, “Since we are now joined to Christ, we have been given the treasures of redemption by his blood — the total cancellation of our sins — all because of this cascading riches of his grace. This superabundant grace is already powerfully working in us, releasing within us all forms of wisdom and practical understanding.”
Take care of yourselves, love God and love people and make a difference.
Dave Truncone is the pastor of First Assembly of God Church in Van Buren.