Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Skunk Cabbage

As followers of Jesus Christ we are called to be His disciples. What is a disciple? A student…. One who observers and obeys.
God’s Word is portrayed in His creation and if we will but stop to take the time to observe we will see ‘sermons’ all around us picturing for us the way that we should go.

Each year I look forward to one of the very first evidences of spring – the skunk cabbage that I see from my kitchen window.
I have been enjoying it’s bright yellow color this spring every time I stand at my sink.
The other day I was wondering about skunk cabbage. It is not perceived as a popular plant but surely it must have a purpose. I decided to do a little research on the skunk cabbage and this post is the result of what I learned … and what the skunk cabbage calls me to obey!

1. Skunk cabbage loves wet soil.

Skunk cabbage will have nothing to do with dry parched land… no, it insists on growing where the ground sits in water all year. Look for wetlands where little else will grow and you will find skunk cabbage thriving!

Are we like the skunk cabbage – thriving in the Living Water ? Thriving where we may at times find ourselves alone?

Water … life giving . Jesus, the Giver of living water !

"If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." (John 4:10)

2. Skunk cabbage is named for its distinctive smell.
Skunk cabbage is known for its skunky carrion smell.
Its strong odour attracts the insects, beetles and spiders who seem to enjoy it while they pollinate the plants flowers.

Christians give off an ‘aroma’ that is perceived both as a fragrance and a smell of carrion.
To God we are the fragrance of Christ but to those who are perishing… the sinful men of this world…. we are the smell of death !!

“To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.” (II Cor. 2:16)

3. Skunk cabbage creates its own environment.

The skunk cabbage has an interesting ability to adapt to harsh conditions around it . It simply warms itself up ! Enough to melt snow around it …keeping itself from freezing.

We as Christians are called to create an environment of love and peace and gratitude even when circumstances would indicate an opposite attitude.
How successful are we in obeying the example of the skunk cabbage? Do we bring peace into a stressful situation ? Do we have a calming effect when emotions around us are heated ? Does our love cover a multitude of sins?

"And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.” (I Peter 4:8)

4. Skunk cabbage is (almost) immortal

In my study on skunk cabbage I came across this quote …”IMMORTAL?: Eastern skunk cabbage has such an amazing survival strategy that botanists theorize that the plant's central rhizome could live for at least thousand of years, if not indefinitely. Specimens several hundred years old have been found.”

Do we as Christians not have an amazing survival strategy ? When we are born again we are in Jesus and Jesus is in us … and in Him we have the promise of eternal life !!!

"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Col. 3:3)

5. Skunk cabbage puts down deep roots.

Every year the skunk cabbage plant extends its roots deeper into the ground. The roots of a mature plant are said to be so massive that trying to dig them out is a complete waste of time.

How about you and me ? Are we growing ever deeper into Christ ? Are our roots so established in Him that no man, no enemy can pull us away from our stand in Jesus? Are we so grounded in our faith that nothing can make us waver ?

"Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving." (Col. 2:7)

6. Skunk cabbage has medicinal properties

When the bear come out of hibernating they will look for skunk cabbage plants to eat as a laxative to get their systems going again.
The peppery sap of the plant has been used to treat ringworm.
The fleshy underground stem is eaten by animals or was baked to supplement the winter diet of Indians.

Christians are called to bring healing to those around them.
Do our ‘leaves’ , our ‘roots’ freely supply what those around us have need of ??

"Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." (Matt.10:8)

The next time you come across the brilliant yellow of the skunk cabbage .. stop for a moment and listen to the wise advice hidden in its design.


Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Meditations from the garden. This was so fabulous! I'll never look at skunk cabbage the same way again.

Lovella said...

Oh Julie, you are the most incredible writer. I have a devotional book called Garden Mercies that reminded me of your post. Not one in particular but I thought wow, you could do that too.,

Good lesson, and glad to be back to read it.

Nicki said...

I've never heard of skunk cabbage but was very interested in your write up. And again the questions you ask, as you relate the information to God, are very challenging.

James Janzen said...

Very interesting post. As you know we had wetlands in our back 20 where we grew up. I thought they were a pretty flower and picked some for my mother to brighten her kitchen table. I was quite disappointed that she didn't take them in to brighten her table, but rather left them outside where she could see them as she worked in the garden.

Demara said...

There you go again teaching me a very good lesson Julie! I got a little worried though when I read this: "skunk cabbage plants to eat as a laxative". I had no idea what "hidden message" you'd find in that! haha but you pulled it off, and I understand. I will never look at skunk cabbage again, although you know, I never actually knew what it looked like before and now I know. Thanks for the heads up! :)

Demara said...

oops...that's I will never look at skunk cabbage ->the same<- again, rather. eek! haha Love You!

Vicki said...

It still amazes me what you can see in the common, ordinary things...even the smelly stuff! This is a great lesson! Thank you!

I have a photo for you at my blog that will make you glad you're not here with me! Right now, I'm back in the house cleaning, which I'll probably do for the next few weekends. During the week, I'll be tackling those boxes...

truth said...

I've never heard of skunk cabbage either. I think everything God created can help us to learn and grow. I remember thinking how clever He was to create clay for us to make pottery and all of the lessons that went with it. And just look at the world around us!

Thanks for your insight.