“Be we are not those who are draw back to perdition, but those who believe and are saved.”
Have you ever sat back and wondered what your job really is? As I sit back and look at people and where, when, and how God uses their life. I wonder how I fit in. Maybe you are like me and get a little frustrated at all the things you think you are meant to do, and they don’t pan out? I wonder if I have been spinning my wheels or living in someone else’s shadow.
Today I saw something in a devotional that caught my attention. Jesus lived out his name, “God saves.” In His everyday life and actions, Jesus fulfilled that name. He lived out that simple, but powerful name with each moment on spent on this earthy place.
Then I think of my name. A simple name with a weighty meaning: Gary Preston Avants. It means, “a mighty spear (or friend in battle) from a priestly house that advances forward”. I am not doing any boasting here, trust me. What I have noticed are the places and jobs that God has put me and it makes sense. I think God has placed a name on us, and in his strength, the power to live it out.
I am usually the first one sent out to do something like a trail blazer or a scout, you know spearhead something new. The Lord sets me on hard places with tough people to be a witness where one is not wanted, but He needs me to be.
He keeps me moving forward and sticking with something until it is done. Easy, no, but every part of that task requires less of me and more of Him.
It’s funny, but I almost feel like before you can water or plant a seed, you have to prepare the soil. I think about all the people and places I have lived and it’s hard or thorny ground. I have often felt helpless banging my head against a wall. Are these people ever going to see they need the Lord? It’s then He tells me what to do. Encourage people and pray. Pray, show kindness, deal with abuse, hatred, and misunderstanding, but help prepare their heart soil for God water and to plant His seeds.
This human soil we daily walk among needs the Master Gardner’s touch. There are some soils hard toward close relationships who need to soften before they crack. There are others who are wild silly earth that need a healthy sobering and maturity. Some terrain is hidden in the shadows darkened by irrational emotional damage. These are people made from a very sinful fallen planet who need the life giver again.
So I work in dirt. Not the cleanest or most rewarding job. I don’t often get to see the sprouts open. There are times when some of that hardness and dryness tries to come back on my heart and soul. I often feel like I am not part of the process. This task seems not as spectacular as the those who reap the harvest.
But if this is what is important for the Lord, then it is an honor to be down at ground level on my knees.
Maybe you are a ‘soil of the soul’ worker like me? I hope you can see that your job is vital. If God has called you to pray, to be humble, to be in a hard place with hard people, and to draw close to Him. Don’t depend on your wits, your heart, or your strength. Trust Him and let Jesus work that soil in your heart first. As He shows you how to maintain that ground, He can plant seeds for the Gospel.
Hang in there when you’re feeling low, dirty, or down in the dumps. Sometimes the best soil for human hearts to grow just might be found in the last place you would expect.
Praise God for your willingness and perseverance to live out the essence of your name, Gary!