It was a beautiful rose bush still in its plastic container. At some point while the house was vacant it must have tipped over. The bush laid on its side for who knows how long. I was amazed that somehow it stayed alive. Just a few weeks ago there were dozens of roses in full bloom bursting from the thick branches. But now it was finally time to prune it and plant it in a place in my new garden where it could grow and flourish and be enjoyed as it should be. I had hoped it would be as easy as picking up the plastic container and moving it… I was wrong.
It seems the reason this abandoned bush had bloomed so abundantly was because its roots had sprung from the thin plastic container and made their way deep into the soft, moist soil. I was literally unable to budge it from any angle so I began to dig around it. Surprisingly the camouflaged roots were thick – nearly twice as thick as the large branches on the surface. The paving stones that surrounded this toppled plant seemed to provide no space at all but these roots were determined to settle in. They found all the room they needed beneath the heavy stones. Dislodging a half dozen or more led me to the end of one set of roots, but when I tried to move the plant I found another set stretching in another direction… and then another. Some roots were more than 6 feet long traveling under the dead sod and whatever else stood in their way.
If you had only smelled the flowers and examined the roots of this bush you would have sworn this was a healthy plant in a beautiful rose garden. Instead, it was a topped mess in a pile of dead weeds and stones with the remnants of a plastic container still around it. And what is left of the beautiful bush…. just a few empty branches and whatever roots I could salvage.
This plant with misplaced roots reminded me of something that happened to me while I was house hunting this past Fall. I was a few months into the search and already growing anxious and impatient. I decided to look at a very old home (100 years old) that had been on the market for months. Its description was enticing and I knew it would be a fixer-upper, but I wasn’t quite prepared for what I saw. There isn’t enough space in this blog to describe the problems with this home. But, here’s the worst part… I actually considered it!
“Why?” you might ask. Was I really that desperate? I will admit it may have been desperation that nudged me, but it was something else that made me think about it seriously. I tend to be a little on the creative side, crafty, and a do-it-yourself kind of gal. I certainly noticed all the flaws of this place but that DIY side of me saw projects and potential in endless supply. Looking back at it now “endless” is an understatement! In all of eternity that house would have never been finished and no guests I know would have ever stayed there. But I really was tempted until the Lord got my attention.
Thankfully, later that same day He showed me a house that was beautiful… the nicest one I had seen so far. It was exactly the distraction I needed to get my mind off of “The Money Pit.” What He taught me from that experience was that I could have “bloomed” at that 100 year old house. I could have laid down some roots and used the gifts of creativity He had given me to work on it. But my roots would have been misplaced. It’s not where He wanted me to be. It’s not how He wanted me to spend my time, money and energy. And if I had laid down roots there I would have turned out just like that rose bush… laying on my side in a pile of rocks and weeds with flowers blooming that no one would enjoy.
I believe each person is uniquely gifted by God. He places talents, skills, and abilities in each of us and He has a plan to use them. He wants to use what He’s given us to bless others and He knows precisely who, what, when, where and how. He has a plan for each of us, a plan that will bring glory to Him and His love to others. But sometimes we allow our roots to get misplaced. We may entrench ourselves in the comfortable. Even though we know He wants to move us out of our comfort zone we stay put, letting our roots dive under rocks and weeds. Or, we get impatient. We lay down roots even when we know the Master Gardener’s got a plan to move us to a perfect spot. We may at times bloom using the gifts He’s given us. But if they are used without Him and outside of His plan, they are like the blooms of a toppled rose bush in a vacant yard. No one enjoys them.
Where are your roots? Are you content in your plastic container waiting for the Master Gardener to move you to the perfect place? Or, are you entrenched in your comfort zone sending more and more roots down to keep you secure for fear you might be moved? Or are you firmly planted where the Lord wants you to be, growing and blooming with Him as your Master Gardener, pruning you when needed and constantly nurturing and feeding you?
Lord, thank you for caring about where our roots are planted. Show us where you want us to be and where we can be the most effective for you. Thank you for having a plan for our lives. In your Son’s most precious name, amen.