I was reading a book by Max Lucado* recently. In an early chapter he recounts the story of George Washington Carver. Born in 1864, this scientist, botanist, professor and inventor went on a quest.
Carver was attempting to regenerate the post Civil-war land which had been decimated by years of cultivating cotton. When an invasion of vicious beetles wiped out the remaining crop, Carver persuaded the farmers to start over with alternatives. Amongst these options was the common peanut which was planted and flourished in the difficult soil. There was only one problem; demand wasn’t high for the peanuts which were now being plucked from the fields faster than a red-neck playing a banjo. Carver turned to God, why lead him to encourage farmers to grow peanuts only for the crops to lie rotting in barns across the region? Carver was encouraged and set his mind to discovering every possible use of the peanut. He eventually identified more than 300 hundred products that could be extracted from the humble seeds. His contribution over the years was so significant that the United States still marks a day in Carver’s honour.
What’s my point? I believe God has given each of us a peanut: a unique character, passions, gifting, and relationships which he wants us to dedicate ourselves to getting the most out of. How can we maximise what God has given us, working with the grain for his glory to grow his kingdom?
I think university years can be one of the most challenging times when it comes to finding your peanut. Some people start a degree with a clear vision of what they’re good at and where they want to go post-university. However, I think many of us fall into further education and hope we’ll pop out the other end into a job we like. Whatever the case, it makes sense to spend some time asking God what he’s put you here for. What have you been consistently good at? What has always seemed to come more easily to you than to other people? What are you passionate about? Who do you know better than anyone else? What were you doing last time you felt truly alive? How might God want to use these things to help you contribute to something beyond yourself; to his Kingdom?
*Cure for the Common Life