As a child growing up in Ghana’s Upper Region, I used to help Mom and Dad in their garden. To this day, the aroma of tomatoes ripening on the vine makes me nostalgic for tropical climes and simpler times.

Dad, who had attended an agricultural school, used to coach me as I worked. “A weed is any plant that’s not where you want it,” he instructed. And so, despite the fact that a perfectly healthy stalk of corn was growing in the yams, I would dutifully pull it out. Dad understood that the stray plant was hurting the yams, not helping the corn.

Dad’s gone now, but the weeds are not. And so I work with my 11-year-old son in our garden—tilling, tending, watering, hoping that most of what we planted in the spring will make it to our table before the deer feast on it. And I ponder Dad’s advice.

“Bloom where you’re planted,” the old adage advises. But do we sometimes crave to bloom where God didn’t intend? We construct our plans out of selfish motives. We envy others who have position and influence despite obvious inferior abilities. But God placed us in our precise spot for His good purposes.

Jonathan, the warrior prince of Israel, chose to bloom where he was planted. As King Saul’s son, he had every reason to expect to be king. But he accepted the fact that God, for His own reasons, had chosen David. Rather than grasping for what was not his, Jonathan became David’s closest friend. His assistance saved David’s life.

We might be tempted to think that Jonathan gave up too much. But consider this: The Messiah came from David’s line. What if? What if . . . ?

Ultimately, God’s plans will succeed. We can be useful, fruit-bearing plants in His garden—or misplaced, misguided weeds. He leaves the choice with us.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Psalm 8:1-9