February 11, 2019 – Jim Mathis Growing healthy plants is not always an easy proposition. Poor flowering, quickly dried out soil, stunted leaves and stems, and even dropped leaves are signs of distress. Plants give these signals because they are not able to draw enough nutrients and moisture from their current root situation.
Often the solution is a simple matter of transplanting them into a new pot – re-potting them into a different setting that proves more conducive for their overall health and growth.
Interestingly, this “re-potting” principle applies to not only plants, but to humans as well. Looking back over the course of my life, I have been uprooted and replanted or re-potted several times. Each time, as it turned out, the result was to my good advantage. For instance, leaving home and going to college as a young man was a major replant. Not that the old environment was bad; it was just that new fertile soil allowed me to blossom.
When I quit my job and started my own business 44 years ago, it was a whole new garden. In each period of my life, when it seemed that I was done growing, not flowering, or even dropping a few metaphorical leaves, I was able to re-pot to a bigger pot with fresh soil and new excitement for living.
A half dozen years ago, I decided to re-pot my business once again, this time with an emphasis on photo restorations. It has been a whole new world, using new tools and techniques that have enabled me to restore many people’s old family pictures to their original glory.
This re-potting process sometimes it requires being willing to let go of the familiar and attempt something new. Some people deal with change more easily than others, but for virtually every one of us, at times change is unavoidable and necessary. Just as a struggling plant will not thrive until it is re-potted, we too can find our growth stunted, both professionally and personally, when we refuse to risk making much-needed changes.
We can also apply this re-potting idea to our spiritual lives. Last year, my wife and I successfully re-potted our spiritual life by changing churches. We had been members of our old church for 35 years, and after much prayer and deliberation, determined that major replanting was in order. Finding a new spiritual environment, having new people with whom we could worship and serve, was just what we needed to rekindle our relationship with God.
There are other ways to “re-pot” spiritually. It may involve changing the way you spend time with the Lord each day – or it might mean determining to start spending time with Him every day if you are not already doing so.
Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” God did not intend for our spiritual lives to be lived in isolation, in a vacuum apart from others. Just as organs in the human body must rely on one another for health, growth and strength, we need to make sure we remain closely connected to other members of what the Bible describes as “the body of Christ.”
Another passage, Hebrews 10:24-25, admonishes us to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another….” This can apply to being involved in a local church, but it also often means getting together with other believers, particularly one’s who are more mature in their faith we can learn from and receive wise counsel based on the Scriptures. If you do not have someone like that in your life, it may be time to “re-pot.”
Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.
- Have you ever tried growing plants, or do you know someone who enjoys doing that and is good at it? What has been the effect you have observed of re-potting a plant, whether because it was unhealthy, or simply because it had outgrown the pot it had been in?
- Thinking over your life to this point, have there been times when you have been re-potted professionally? How about personally? What has that kind of experience been like for you?
- How do you think this re-potting principle applies to our spiritual journey in life? Is it even necessary? Why or why not?
- What steps might be necessary in your own life to “re-pot” spiritually and start growing again – or growing more fully than you have in recent days? Do you have anyone you can trust and rely on to help you in this process?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Joshua 1:6-9; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Revelation 2:1-6, 3:14-20