Summary: We neither know where we are in our lives, nor where we need to be. But, like Job, we want to break out of the limits, we must take risks, and we learn to locate in trust of God and there to find that where are now is indeed where we need to be!
“Watch where you plant your feet!” That’s the command I
hear every time I help with the garden. “Watch where you
plant your feet!” My job is to clear out winter’s debris, the
dead leaves and old twigs. I am to open up the flower beds
for spring. To do that I have to step into the flower beds; I
cannot reach all the dead clutter from outside. I must plant
my feet inside the flower bed. But from the master gardener
– or shall I say the mistress gardener? – at my house comes
the worried cry, “Watch where you plant your feet!” She is
concerned that my weight will press down on some tender
shoot and destroy it. She worries that I do not know where I
am or where I need to be.
That is a parable of our lives. Much of the time we do not
know where we are or where we need to be. We do not
know where we are in our lives; are we at the beginning of
some new venture that will take us into new possibilities? Or
are we just beating the same old dead horse, doing the same
old same old without moving forward? We do not know.
The very “dailyness” keeps us from knowing where we are.
The clutter with which each day is filled means that we lose
sight of the direction of our lives. We are just too busy trying
to pay bills, clean house, go to work, go to school, manage
this task, do that chore. We don’t know where we are in our
And if we do not know where we are now, it’s pretty certain
that we will not know where we need to be. It is not clear to
us where we need to put our feet down and do some work,
because we have forgotten the direction God has given us.
We have never really noticed that our creator has put us in a
particular place and time and has said, “Bloom where you
are planted.” Our greatest sin is that we forget where we are
and do not know where we need to be.
“Watch where you plant your feet!” Well, where DO we plant
our feet? To what DO we give ourselves and why? Is there
something more to life than just the daily grind of going to
work in order to earn the cash to pay the bills so that we can
maintain ourselves until tomorrow when we will go to work in
order to earn the cash to pay the bills so that we can
maintain ourselves until tomorrow when we will do it all over
again? Is that all there is? Or is there more?
Do you know where you need to be? Job found out where
he needed to be. But it was not easy getting there. First he
had to lose everything he held dear; you know the story by
now – how he lost health, wealth, family, self-esteem, the
whole enchilada. Where was he after all that loss?
Physically, he was on the town garbage heap, surrounded by
rotting debris and three lousy friends. Where was he after all
that loss? Spiritually, not sure. Didn’t know. But he learned
something: he learned that where he was just might be
where he needed to be.
That’s the heart of today’s message: that where we are,
distasteful though it may be, can be where we need to be. In
the providence of God, our feet are planted in what feels like
garbage, but it just might be exactly where we need to be.
In our Scripture, Job says to God:
“You put my feet in the stocks, and watch all my paths; you set a
bound to the soles of my feet.”
Lord, you’ve got me nailed down. You’ve planted me right
here, where I need to be. How did Job get there? How did
Job come to know where he needed to be?
Job began by wanting to be everywhere. He started out
wanting to be unlimited. He wanted no boundaries. Job saw
no reason to plant himself in any one place; he wanted it all.
As this chapter opens, Job has listened to his friends, he has
heard all of their theologizing about why Job is suffering, and
Job tells them, when they finally take a breath from their
windy speeches, “I don’t need you. I don’t need to hear what
you have to say. I already know everything you know. But I
want more. I expect more. I want to be without limits. I want
no boundaries.” Listen to the way he said it:
"Look, my eye has seen all this, my ear has heard and understood
it. What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you. But I