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Mushrooms and red chilli

blogmushroomsredchilliWhat do you think the biggest organism in the world is?  A whale?  A dinosaur?  Maybe even an ancient Redwood tree?  Although these are very large compared to human sizes, the largest living thing in the world is a honey fungus in the Blue Mountains of the USA and you’ll hardly ever see it.
 
This fungus, apparently, is very tasty with spaghetti and red chilli, yet it is lethal to the trees it uses as a host (it’s a parasite).  How big is it you ask?  It covers about 3.7 square miles (an area slightly bigger than Richmond Park).  Due to its intricate network of rhizomorphs (something like roots, but not quite) that grow below the surface, it spreads throughout wooded areas without it being noticed or seen - unless you’re on the hunt for a tasty meal, of course.  Scientists only noticed it fairly recently when they observed large amounts of trees dying.  After studying aerial photographs and taking samples from dead and dying trees, they realised it was caused by a single organism: Armillaria solidipes (the honey fungus).
 
Why the Biology lesson, you may ask?  The thought occurred to me recently that the Kingdom of Heaven is (or should be) a lot like this fungus.  Not in the sense that it destroys whole forests, but in the way it spreads, relentless, without a big fanfare, without anyone noticing.  Each individual cell is just doing what it is supposed to do, linked up with the rest of its kin by the growing root system.  Every now and then you might notice a mushroom above ground and appreciate it, but it’s the unwavering growth of the unseen subterranean roots that makes it develop so well.
 
In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul writes that every one of us has something to offer.  All of us have a part to play in making God’s kingdom a reality in our time on earth.  It’s also not based on our own abilities, but rather on Christ, the True Vine, the Head of the Body of Christ.  The Spirit is the One who brings change, not us.  Our responsibility is to be and remain rooted in Christ (John 15) so that we may bear fruit and change our world for the glory of God.
 
May we all be so drenched and saturated with Christ and be so rooted in Him that all we do brings Him glory.  Whether that’s doing our best at work, volunteering our time at church, or making pasta with mushrooms and red chilli for our families at home.

Nico Marais (27 July 2017)

Feedback:
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