Today’s Scripture: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. Galatians 1:6-7

The spring of 2019 brought a bountiful harvest of morel mushrooms in Ohio – at least for everyone else. Pictures of mushroom hauls appeared in the local papers and on Facebook. Stories of finding morels would creep into conversations.

After hearing this for a couple weeks, Julie and I got permission to walk on a neighbor’s large piece of property to search for morels. We walked up steep hills, heard birds sing, saw the sun’s beams pierce through the trees as it sank lower in the spring sky. We paused to enjoy the sights and sounds of spring.

We searched under apple trees and around rotting elm trees. An hour of looking produced not a single mushroom.

Until…

There it was, a lonely fungus near a rotting elm. I walked faster through the briars in the fading light, ducking under tree limbs. I reached down, but something did not seem right. The pattern was off. It was too shiny. It was too round.

It was a false morel.

False morels have poisonous chemicals: monomethyl hydrazine (MMH) and toxin gyromitrin. These chemicals can be carcinogenic and cause vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, and sometimes death.  False morels look like the real thing. They appear at the same time in the same places, making victims of unwary “shroomers” (people who search for mushrooms).

Some people do eat them, typically with serious side effects. In Finland, you can buy them in the market with preparation instructions. One never knows how much MMH or gyromitrin is in a particular false morel. It could be a little or a lot. Some may only make you sick while others are fatal.

I could not help thinking that the same is true of the gospel. Paul said “another gospel” is not a valid form of the gospel. It is a perverted gospel. Adding good works to the gospel is a perversion. The gospel is simple. Christ died for our sins and rose again. Trusting Him gives one eternal life. It is by grace through faith.

Be careful when searching for mushrooms or the gospel in the dim, fading light of this earth. Settle for nothing less than the real thing. Just because other people are eating poisonous mushrooms or even selling them with instructions does not mean you should get comfortable with toxins that will make you sick or kill you spiritually.

Devotional by Pastor Neal Dearyan