Root Bound

by Rev. Brad Sheppard

The onset of cold weather meant it was time to bring the potted succulent plants indoors. With cats around the house potted plants rarely make it undisturbed. So I decided to take the plants to my church office where they would be unbothered and also receive more sunlight from my office windows than they would at home.

The two succulents were planted in small clay pots. I decided to transfer them to another pot with sufficient space for them that would also make it easier to water and care for them. As I went to remove them from their little pots, I found it a difficult task. I had to carefully loosen them from the confines of the pots while not damaging their fragile foliage. When I finally removed them, I found them to be root bound. Their roots had grown extensively and wrapped around themselves with no additional space to grow and move. With caution I loosened the roots to give them room to spread out as I placed them in the new and bigger pot. I carefully packed the soil around the roots and gently watered the plants. I did this with the good hope for the possibility of new growth and flourishing life for these delicate but resilient plants.

This makes me wonder about my life and maybe it gets you wondering about your life too. How are we “root bound”? How are we restricted, confined and limited? How might we need to be transplanted from a situation, circumstance or habit to a place where we can thrive? Maybe the old way of doing things or ordering our lives now prevents us from growing into our fullest selves. What then needs to change?

We can ask these same questions of a congregation too. Churches like people outgrow what once worked and then need to consider where and how we might really thrive as followers of Jesus.

I am going to really give thought to these questions for myself. I would invite you to consider them too. As well, let us reflect on where God might like to replant us as God’s people so that we can grow and flourish. May we then trust that our Gardener God will tend us well.