When the Call Feels Bigger Than You

When the Call Feels Bigger Than You

January 8, 2016

"She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard." Proverbs 31:16 (ESV)

I walked around the old tattered fence. Hope mounted as crisp leaves crunched beneath my feet.

The fence was home to a shabby, forgotten garden, out back of the new home we’d just purchased. How long had it been since someone had tended its roots? Surely not too long, I gathered, as I eyed the fallen, pulpous peppers sitting among the underbrush.

My eyes took in the misfortune of soil left untended, but in my heart I saw a season of growth and opportunity amidst this agricultural wreckage.

It was my field.

Stubble. Chaff. Clay. Not much to behold, yet promise was burgeoning just below the soil.

A year later, after we had tilled and toiled and harvested that garden soil, the words from today’s key verse began their resounding echo in my spirit: "She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard" (Proverbs 31:16).

The verse reverberated within me over time. As I read it again and again, that originally untended garden out back began to flourish with a successful first season of fruit bearing.

And God opened my eyes to other untended fields with potential.

Vacant fields lay all around us. In wedding vows promised before God and family. In the births of new babes. In the prodding of one’s heart toward new ministry. In the face of new mothers in shelters downtown. In the eyes of orphans a world, or a street, away.

How many times have I stood before an empty field? And how many times have I walked right past one without consideration?

Sometimes, the eyes of one’s heart must squint to see it, but there is hope amidst the overgrowth. There is great potential waiting to be unearthed from these desolate fields.

I imagine this woman spoken of in Proverbs 31 … "She considers a field and buys it …" Her feet planted on the edge of that field. Hand rubbing chin and head tilted in curiosity.

What could it be? What would God work through her hands for His glory?

Perhaps we are afraid to see these fields. When we glimpse an opportunity before us, do we turn our gaze because we are wary of the work the soil demands? The beauty of the fruit is alluring; we truly desire to see God do great and magnificent things through us. But our hands seem so unprepared, and we feel wholly unworthy of the calling.

When you stand before that vacant field, and consider the great expanse of the work it will take from barren to harvest, don’t let fear turn you away. We have much to make of empty fields if we are ready to put our hands to the plow and get a little messy.

You need only consider your next right step. Don’t be overwhelmed by the size of the task before you. Focus on the one thing that must be done next and trust God to level the ground before you. Pick up some gloves and clear the brush. Till some soil. Plant a seed.

And then watch in wonder as it begins to blossom. When we’re faithful to simply show up with hands willing to work, we can watch in wonder as God brings forth fruit from our humble efforts.

God places them before us, these barren fields, and beckons our hearts to create something of artistry, of intrigue, of splendor, of His majesty. He’ll call forth the rains. We only need to consider, buy in and put our hands to the plow.

Heavenly Father, help me see the empty and waiting fields that You place before me. Give me wisdom on when to keep walking and when to stop and put my hands to the plow. Protect me from the fears that will hold me back from seeing You do great and mighty things through me. Help me always work through the strength of Christ and point any and all of my efforts back to Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Corinthians 3:6, "I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow." (NLT)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Longing to write words that are memorable and life changing? Struggling to build a platform, but realize it takes more writing than you thought? Today’s devotion author, Eryn Lynum, is a member of COMPEL, a monthly membership program for those who want to write words that move people. Click here to learn more.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Is there an empty field you sense God calling you to work in, but you are overwhelmed by the task or don’t know where to begin? Spend some time in prayer over this opportunity. Write two to three small steps you could take next.

Were you given an opportunity recently but you said "No" out of fear? Commit to praying over that opportunity every morning for one week. Ask the Lord whether He might have you change your answer and pursue that opportunity in His strength.

© 2015 by Eryn Lynum. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Dawn Rupapera says:

    I need help getting motivated for 2016 Sunday school ministry

  2. Candace Franz says:

    Thank you! I needed this! I have felt like God was prepping me for ministry, and I knew where He wants me but had no idea where to begin!

  3. Kati Forman says:

    How fitting! My devotional calendar say this for today:
    Preparation
    I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go. Isaiah 48:17
    No event in your life is a mistake. I will use every circumstance to enrich your ministry and perfect your soul. You shall go because I have need of you, and minister in the full power of your calling.

    Think God is trying to tell me something! Thanks for the devotions and for all you do at P31. You are a blessing.

    Kati

    • “Preparation” is my one word for 2016. Not only does God use the P31 devotions, but He uses those who comment as well. Thank you for being obedient in commenting and being used by God to confirm His path in my life. I rarely comment, but I always love reading the thoughts and feelings of this community of faith.

    • It is so incredible to watch when God aligns certain things we are reading or hearing to show us a clearer picture of His heart!

  4. I see a field of ‘potential’ and I’ve bought in. This is very timely for me as I may have run away in fear. Let the Lord’s work begin as I put my hand to the plough. Thank you Proverbs 31 for your faithfulness in daily delivering God’s word xx

  5. Thank you for this! God bless you!

  6. Yes the call does feel bigger than me!
    so timely. Just remember the next step. Thank you!

  7. Pursue that opportunity in His strength

    Buy in and put our hands to the plow

    3steps

    1.Pursue—I will listen to/for my Shepherd’s voice
    2. Buy in —I will live in trust,acting justly,loving mercy,walking humbly with God
    3.Put my hand to the plow–do things
    Decently and in order

  8. I long considered this passage as a challenge to me and my ministry–and that is good. But one day God gave me an alternate view–also very good.

    What if the wise woman of Proverbs 31 is my church, and the field she buys and labors over is our surrounding community? Is it not the church’s mission to plant a vineyard in it’s own neighborhood? Prayer breaks up the hard soil, outreach programs plant the seeds, relationship-building is the water, more prayer is the hard work of weeding. May the harvest bring glory to God.

    • MarjorieElaine Peirce says:

      For years I always felt bad that I never felt like going overseas like so many of my friends. Many had been several times … going to up to 5 countries in a summer time, speaking at various women groups through Aglow International and churches. And then, one day, the Lord asked me where my heart was. It had always been right here at home. I felt that if I could not reveal Christ to my family… to my neighbors… to a stranger on the street or in the store that the Lord had spoken to my heart about, then how could I feel I could do better overseas. It was then that I realized that each of us has a specific gifting. We are not all meant to go overseas. We are not all meant to do ‘mission work’ here at home. Just as we are all part of One Body, so will we each have a different “field” to minister to. The hands of the Body do not do the same thing as the feet do. I had to come … and accept… that going overseas was not the calling the Lord had given me. Everyone I knew that had gone overseas had one thing in common that they all spoke at least once……”My heart longs for… or hurts for… of cries for… the women in such and such a country.” My heart longs for.. hurts for.. cries for… those people walking down my street. Living in the apartment next door. Or a single mom, struggling under the burden of working 3 jobs and going to college while trying to instill manners, caring, strength, compassion, etc. to her 7 year old son. Those people are my “mission field”. The Lord has shown me that there are those who will minister to a group of people through a special means (Bible Studies…. Gatherings with guest speakers…a special group that ministers to … say, women in prison, ..homeless shelters… young mothers… and the list goes on.) And then there are those of us who will minister one on one to those the Lord places in our paths. It might be a one time visit… a stranger who becomes a new friend… or just someone who is hurting and looking for someone to just listen.. to just show that they understand and have the compassion of God. They are looking to “see” God at that moment.. .. that day. We never know where that 30 minute encounter or that new relationship will take that person. That is the job of the Holy Spirit in their lives. He is only asking that “We” be open to take the plow to the field He lays before us. The results are His. We might have watered a dry parcel of ground so that the seed that had been planted there years before, can bloom. He might use our plow to turn up some issue that person needed to be delivered or healed from. I try to ask the Lord to fill my mouth with His Wisdom, His Love and Compassion and His Mercy, so that whatever I speak, will be from His Heart to His child. So, yes, I do feel that our surrounding community… our neighborhood… and even a stranger, can be our “Field” that we are to buy and put our hand to the plow with.
      .

  9. WOW! This spoke to me right where I am right now. I am in the middle of a situation that makes me feel anxious and overwhelmed. It’s something I want to do, but I have lots of rough edges God is chiseling and I’m questioning if I’m supposed to be doing this. Thank you for this Devo!!!!! Bless you!

  10. All I can say is “Amen” and thank you!

  11. Oh the perfect timing of this email. Thank you!

  12. I woke to this message in my inbox this morning and it was exactly what I needed. I was encouraged and felt refreshed. Thank you!

  13. Jim Selman says:

    Eryn – This one hit me right where I’ve been struggling lately. This message allows me to recognize that by walking past I am still in the process of being tugged by the Spirit and that I can still be confident when it’s time to put the work-gloves on. As long as I realize that by still fully contemplating my capability to assist others in the best way possible, for GOD; that he still has a plan to use me and I’ll know when it’s time to act. .

  14. I love these devotions and P31.. but I also love reading the responses of all the readers. It some how helps encourage me and helps the devotions to resonate more in my memory thorough out the day. I love most when someone says “perfect timing”… or as I like to call it “God’s Timing”. His timing is perfect and he is such an Awesome God. Love Love Love seeing Him in action. Thanks P31 and everyone! 🙂 Hope you all have a beautiful and blessed day!

    • I completely agree. It is incredible to watch how God speaks to His people in exactly the way their hearts need to be spoken to, and with perfect timing. He is a gracious God.

  15. God has recently called me to one of those fields. I am excited to see His hands at work in each step. This new field is reaching out to single moms. The marginalized moms who matter to God and need the extra support and help to get on their feet. We are starting a group home for these women and their children. It is a great venture with God at the forefront. Thank you for this devotion. It was another one of God’s great encouragements to me as I lead this field work with Christ by my side. Praying for those He will bring alongside to work the harvest field.

    • Wow, what an incredible and much needed ministry! Thank you so much for sharing. May God continue to lead, equip, and bless the work He has called you to.

  16. Rhonda Unfricht says:

    Thank you so much for this word from God this morning. My husband and I are preparing to take out last steps in adopting a 16 year old orphan young man from Ukraine. As we hosted him this past summer, God made it very clear that we were to provide a home and family for A. God has worked in ways that have left us in awe! Today’s message spoke straight to my thoughts and “fears” of the future. Thank you for helping me to refocus!

    • Incredible. Adoption is such a beautiful and miraculous work. What an incredible and I am sure difficult, “field”. I pray God continues to bless the last steps, lining up all of the logistics to bring your new son home, and filling this young man’s heart with the love of Christ.

  17. What an inspiration! It’s exactly what I needed to hear today!

  18. Kim Stewart says:

    Eryn, LOVE seeing your beautiful face and words here this morning. What a blessing to many. I can really relate to this struggle and I’m going to pray as you suggest and ask the Lord whether He might have me change my answer to an opportunity!

  19. My field is the young girls in our youth dept. at church. I don’t think I am making a difference for Christ with them. I don’t see any changes or interest. I am only a helper, but there is such a coldness in their hearts. I was going to give up and quit. As I read this I realized I needed to pray more for God to till the soil of their hearts. It isn’t about me seeing fruit, but God reaching down to the roots of their hearts. HIS words do not go in vain!

    • I would encourage you to hold on in that field of service with the youth….you may not see the harvest,to come, but you are planting seeds for God to use in their hearts!

      • I completely agree. So many times we don’t see the fruit–but God works in ways that produce fruit even years or decades down the road. When we are faithful to show up with hands ready to work, He shows up and makes the work and fruit beautiful!

    • Hi Joleen – This is late and you may not see it – I pray that you’ve been encouraged. I want to tell you about my experience. I had several teenage girls in my class that obviously didn’t want to be there and although I gently encouraged them, I found myself feeling discouraged and frustrated. Then, one day I had an opportunity to speak with their aunt and found that these young women were facing trials that broke my heart–it’s no wonder they behaved the way they did. I started focusing on loving them, rather than teaching them. They so desperately needed to feel loved. I gave them extra attention, hugs, whatever felt right and the change was amazing! They became teachable! Bless you, dear one…. don’t give up. Seek God’s face.

  20. Love that! Thank you.

  21. Vida Ursic says:

    Thank you, so beautifully written. I am in a season (a week before I turned 60’the company I worked for 17 years laid me off) this new season, on line job search, resumes, linkin…all so foreign. Yet, our Jesus knows, cares, and your post reminds me he has a work for me during this empty lot, thorn laden, blessings in the mundane.
    As I wait going on 6 months for a new work. Humbled. Watchful. Sacrifice of praise.
    Isaiah 59:19

  22. Amy Carroll says:

    Beautiful devotion this morning, Erin! I’m challenged.

  23. Wow. how often we let our fields go. When all we need to do is trust and obey. The Lord will provide

  24. Oh My Sister! You don’t know how your words helped me today! We are in the midst of a situation where we may have to foster my neice’s two little boys. Currently they are staying with their paternal grandmother who is at her wits end with financial concerns. The boys have no financial assistance as mom didn’t get their birth certificates or SSN. I am doing what I can to help her financially but it may not be enough and they boys would come to us. I am willing – even though I’m 53, work, and we have a 5 years old son. (Just Call me Sarah!) My husband is reluctant as the boys are 21/2 and 18 months. We are taking the next step by getting out background checks completed. I don’t dare look at how much work would be involved or the demands on our lives. I’m just trying to be faithful to whatever call He has on our lives. I hope you will pray with me that His will would be done – No Matter What.

    • Thank you so much for sharing. I have three boys (ages four and under) myself, so I can imagine the wonderful chaos! I am praying that the Lord leads you as you are faithful to take each next step and follow His lead. May He make the path clear, and provide the best outcome for you and these precious boys.

  25. I have been asked to take over the Children’s ministry this year.I have said yes,but very fearful of doing it.I’m Praying that I will do my part on what I can do and what I can’t do God will do the rest.please prayer for me as I will pray for others who are making a big step in to faith

    • Praying for you Kelly! Children’s ministry is such an important work–reaching little ones with the love and truth of Christ. May He continue to lead you, give you peace, and equip you as you take on this great work. May He also bring others alongside of you who will be excited about helping in this work.

  26. Brenda lanz says:

    Excellent reminder of all the opportunities around us. We must choose to see and not be afraid to get iur hands dirty. We are all children if a mighty God. Thank you for your wonderful words. Blessings, Brenda

  27. What a wonderful devotion! Thank you for bringing a verse to us that means we can change the world in a way that the Good Lord leads us. You certainly have a gift, Erin, and used one of His blessings to write this devotion. Thank you for giving me God’s words to ponder how He wants to use me.

  28. Waiting on God says:

    I’ve got a field in front of me right now Eryn that I have come up with all kind of reasons not to plow. I still hesitate. All sorts of doubts pop in. Wanting to be sure this is a calling and not prideful thinking. Appreciate your prayers.

  29. Encouraged. Thank you!

  30. Gloria Nofsinger says:

    This devotional spoke to me today. My 88-year old aunt needs to be moved from assisted living to memory care. It will further strain her depleting finances. “Don’t be overwhelmed by the size of the task. Focus…and trust God…” was what I needed for encouragement. I have a lot of physical tasks and red tape to navigate in the coming days. She was a missionary. God has marvelously provided for her in the past and I know He will continue to be faithful.

  31. Great job Eryn!

  32. Great devotional!!! I really needed it!!! You opened my eyes to fields that I had not realized were before me!!!! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. So beautifully written! Completely spoke to my spirit. Thank you for your obedience in tilling the soil of writing in your life!
    I just started a blog called cultivatingtranquility.com! How awesomely relevant to this devotion. I believe I am called to cultivate the soil of his daughter’s hearts…to stir us up to live and love in and through his rest and peace. Please come check out my prayers!

    Much love and God bless!

  34. Loved reading this, thanks Eryn!

  35. cheryl majcen says:

    I’ve been praying and asking God to help me figure my next step in a situation I am dealing with. This devotion spoke to me today and gave me a clear idea of what I need to do…take the next right step and keep my eyes on the Lord. I will not get discouraged and will keep pressing on.

  36. This was exactly what I needed to hear today. Considering a new business opportunity, but fearful of the unknown. Spending lots of time in prayer.

  37. Yes, there has been a field before me for a long time. I’ve taken a spoon and tried to till it before, but yesterday I bought a plow! Well, at least I made a phone call to someone who I think has a plow. My prayer this morning was that God would shine the light on my next step before my foot has been fully moved from the last. I know that’s my fear praying, but… it’s my prayer anyway.

  38. Wow! This is so beautiful. Praying for even more perspective- for God to show me those empty fields that he’s calling me to!

  39. That was so good!! Beautiful words, wow!! I will be taking that prayer with me. Thank you Eryn.

  40. I had an opportunity to harvest a field yesterday, and much to my surprise, I found the words flowing from me to this gentleman. It all happened by chance and I was so thankful that I did not just ignore him when he laughed and referred to himself as a heathen. I have never been able to think of the right words to say to an unbeliever, but God certainly provided them for me yesterday. I don’the know if I reached him, but at least I planted a seed! Thank you Lord!!!

  41. Becky Erickson says:

    Oh, my dear girl, thank you for obeying God’s calling to listen to His voice and then penning them so eloquently. This message is for us all no matter where we’re at or what’s being placed in front of us. Now, let’s go tend some gardens!

  42. Wow,this devotion “hit home “! There are two things that I’ve had put before me. The first is an answer to prayer. It has some obstacles that only God can remove. The second one I have not asked for but keeps being brought to me from different people. I’m not sure how to do this second one.

  43. The date says 2015. It’s 2016 🙂

  44. Once again, I needed to read this devotion. God always sends me just what I need for where I am in my life. We are going through an adoption, and this truly hit home. For some time, I avoided God putting it on my heart to adopt. I was worried and anxious of the unknown. Now that we have adopted, I would not change it one bit. However, it definitely is not a walk in the park. There is much tending and weeding to do lol. God will provide and guide us though. He has so far. I put my trust in my faithful and grace giving Lord!

    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

    • Thank you so much for sharing, Jessica! I have several dear friends who have adopted children, and what a beautiful thing. I have witnessed some of the hardships they have gone through as well, and the faithfulness of God on their behalf. What a beautiful work. May God continue to bless you and your family in your faithfulness to His calling.

  45. Gayle Worden says:

    Encouragement, with grace. I liked it.

  46. What a powerful message. Am I permitted to reference it in a talk I am giving on January 16. It’s about being true to your vision and being fruitful. I know the audience will be blessed by the imagery and truth of this posting.

  47. Great job Eryn! This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear today. 🙂

  48. Thanks Eryn for your beautiful words!! I was just spending time talking with God about a ministry idea he has put in my heart and feeling overwhelmed by the road ahead. I felt God say check out the proverbs 31 devo and be encouraged. Thanks for letting God use you!!

  49. Eryn, I am so excited to see you thoughts here. As a friend of your MIL, I have enjoyed reading some of your earlier writings. I got meet some of the great people who work with prov 31 this fall and am so excited to see how God is blessing you and using your thoughts to encourage others!!!

  50. Annie Zimbelman says:

    Dear Eryn,
    How uplifting and inspiring your message was. Thank you, for tilling and working this ground here in Proverbs 31 Ministry! Many Blessings to you.

  51. Wow. Lots of good things to journal and pray about. Our home is on the market and we are juggling the next steps.

    Joining in the prayers with this community for each member..

    • I am praying that the Lord guides and directs, and makes straight the path before you. May He bless the sale of your house and every step you take towards His purpose for you and your family!

  52. Happiness Edward says:

    Am inspired, truly inspired. married a minister and not up to a year in the ministry. The task seems overwhelming, being a new wife and still have to take care of the women and the young girls in my church. I lost touch with myself trying to cope with all that and am practically giving up when I stumbled onto this page. Thanks Eryn and to you all that commented. God bless you all, the encouragement came at the perfect time.

  53. God is calling me to start an intercessory prayer group in my church. My pastor has given his approval and I’m waiting and seeking God for His direction.

  54. Beautifully written and soulfully uplifting. Thank you and may God bless you, Eryn.

  55. My boyfriend just lost his job. My truck is slowly hobbling on its last leg, and I’ve had two family deaths in two months and I’m telling yall this in hopes that yall will pray for me because ever since I’ve recommitted my life to Christ the Devils been stepping on my heels and is there to mess everything up regardless of the simplicity or time frame. I pray all throughout the day for understanding, growth, and Stronger faith. I’ve just recently got a new job so that is a blessing. Thank you for the wonderful devotion.
    – Max –

    • Praying for you! That you will flourish in the new job, that your boyfriend will be led to the perfect job opportunity for him, that you will be comforted as you grieve the loss of your family members and that your faith continues to grow. May The Lord bless you in this new year!

  56. Eryn,
    I don’t normally comment but that was beautifully written and thought provoking. It has inspired me to tend to my own fields with more care. I write a lot of lil things down (just for my own viewing mostly). But this has inspired a message I want to write about on tending the fields of our marriage. (Something my husband and I really need to do more of at this time. We just celebrated 22 years of marriage on January 8!). I would also like to use this devotion to build on that message if that’s ok with you. Of course, you will be credited with that. And again these certainly aren’t published! Where can I find more of your writing? Enjoyed your perspective very much! Thanks again.
    Yvette

  57. Annie Allan says:

    What a lovey, inspiring devotional..I have already read it several times. it is so gentle and thought provoking.
    Thank you, Eryn

  58. I am going to Haiti in February for my first mission trip outside of the country. I feel so unworthy, we can’t really afford this trip but I know that God has a blessing waiting for me as I hold a mother less child in my arms. I am thankful for the signs he is giving me that we are doing the right thing. I pray protection over my own children while I am away.

  59. Catherine Soehnlin says:

    Eyrn, this encourages my heart tremendously. I too am a compel member and the call to write a book or even blog seems way too big for me. I could picture a fruitful harvest to come if I stick to it and keep following the Lord in the incredible call. Thanks heaps. Bless you!

    • That is wonderful, Catherine! I attended the She Speaks conference this past summer (which I highly recommend), and one of my biggest take aways was “Just be faithful to show up every day”. The big picture can be so daunting, but when we break it down and ask ourselves, “What is the one next thing I can do in order to be faithful to the work God has called me to?” the fear loses its power. He is so faithful, and He will lead, guide, and equip you as you faithfully show up with hands willing to work.

  60. Heidianna says:

    Need a prayer Parnter I need prayer a friend n a hug 6163505465

  61. Pamela Pitts says:

    Yes I was given an opportunity to pray over, my first thought was I’m not even qualified, I wish I was but I’m not! But I decided to give it over to God. I’m gonna follow this prayer and I look forward to seeing what He does with it!

  62. Katharine says:

    This speaks to my heart where I am today and many days. I am thankful for the peaceful attitude this devotion poses.

  63. This empowered this 55 year old to sayyes I can spend the next few years getting the education I need to advance in my career, I’m not too old to do it the smart way, which is through community colleges! The other way (not so smart) would raise my debt to over 60k-

  64. thank you for this inspirational thought. I need it today.

  65. This is SO good. It’s exactly what I needed to hear. I need to step out in faith trusting God to lead the way. One small task at a time. Great advice. Thank you for writing this.

  66. I think i have been stuck in the considering stage for way too long. Time to step out on faith and purchase the field.

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