Friday, 30 August 2013


I’m not the greatest gardener in the world, but I’m keen to not be the one who incurs the wrath of the neighbours by lowering street appeal. Occasionally, I have gone beyond simple neat and tidy and attempted design and theme. It’s rarely successful, requiring as it does,  hard work and keeping at it - which might explain our having moved house more than ten times in forty eight years of marriage. Just saying.
However, over the years, I have learnt a thing or two about plants. One is that you have to keep re-potting your patio plants, otherwise they just don’t thrive. Oh, they do well for a while, then they get too big for the pot, get root bound, are invaded by pests, are worn out, like the exhausted soil they’re potted in. When that happens there’s nothing else to do but move them.  I admit I have killed a few in the process, but that was probably down to leaving it too late.
It occurs to me that there are parallel situations in life. There are people who stay too long in a job which doesn’t make best use of their true abilities or where their abilities are belittled. All too often they stay in the job because of paralysing fear, pleading age, family responsibilities, or past disappointments. Better to take a risk than to die slowly.
Then there’s the couple whose marriage is stale but either one or both won’t make the effort to seek counsel. The answer is not separation or divorce, but a willingness to change. I accept it may take only one partner to make an unsatisfactory marriage, but to improve it certainly needs both partners. Prompt action, nourishment, and ‘pest eradication’ are vital elements in that process.
Finally, as a follower of Jesus Christ for over forty years, I have observed some people slowly withering in their local church. Having exhausted what nourishment that ‘pot’ had to offer, it was time to move to a bigger or differently shaped one. They choose to stay put because of false perceptions of loyalty. It’s not that their church was a bad one, it is simply that it no longer provided what was necessary for them to thrive. A cot is the right place for a baby, but will prevent a toddler taking steps toward being a responsible teen. The children of Israel would have camped over-long in many places, but God required they follow His cloud by day and His pillar of fire at night. It was the only way they would receive spiritual food and grow strong enough to take the land of promise.

The call to growth will always require risk. I quote Bill Johnson: “God loves risk takers. It shows they are willing to trust Him.” 

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