What if your name was Tinder Polypore, Tinder fungus, Hoof Fungus, Tinder Conk and even Ice Man? There might be one for me, but Ice Man? Not possible. These names won’t work for any of us. They work superbly for a fungus that grows on the birch tree. Tinder Conk works best. As you examine the photos you may say, “it looks like a horse’s hoof”-then use Hoof Fungus. By now you are wondering why the word tinder is used. The history of this fungus has involved people much more in the past than this current century. In human history the preservation of fire was related to life. Tinder Cork can be used as an exceptional fire starter. With a hole in the center of Tinder Cork fungus, a glowing ember can be carried great distances. Tinder, it is like kindling. Tinder starts fires-easily.
We understand tinder and hoof, but Ice Man? This one is good. Calling it Ice Man fungus takes us back in earth history about 5,300 years ago. In 1991 hikers in a northern province in Italy, South Tyrol, discovered a man frozen in a glacier. He was nick named “Ice Man”. Significant discoveries about life millennia ago were made. Ice Man was carrying 4 pieces of Tinder Conk.
A polypore fungus is a large group of mushrooms with spores held in tubes on the underside of the fungus. They are decomposers of wood. When a polypore fungus appears on a living tree the life of that tree is limited. Fungus like Tinder cork provide many benefits in a forest. Two of them are decomposition and recycling of nutrients. Many fungi have medicinal qualities, some are edible, some are highly poisonous. Scientists believe there are about 1.5 million species of fungi. Less than 5% of these species have been described. We are touching upon a great mystery when we examine and appreciate fungus. They are worth finding simply for their beauty. (For more on fungi go to this link: https://www.fs.fed.us/nrs/pubs/gtr/gtr_nrs79.pdf )
You may have never seen a Tinder Conk. Ok. Perhaps noticing fungus is not part of your daily routine. Most people do not. Fungus is generally out of sight, its role in nature unnoticed. Perhaps the only fungus we notice is when it grows on a toenail.
Thinking about fungus is a worthy pastime for us, really. One characteristic of fungus is how little it’s noticed. For all it does in nature it is highly underrated. Perhaps after hearing about fungus you find you feel like one. Do you ever feel unnoticed? Ever feel that no one even knows you are alive? How does that feel? It’s not good. Sometimes we can feel like a fungus. No one ever notices. We even said that we know less that 5% of the world’s fungus. Perhaps you feel that way, people notice you less than 5% of the time.
But you are noticed. God made every one of the 1.5 million fungi. God made you. He knows about every fungus. He knows the number of hairs on your head. God knows more about you than you know yourself. Jesus said, “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7 Are you astonished? That would be a worthy response. Perhaps know the hairs on your head is not enough for you. The writer of Psalm 139 knew this about God, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” How is that for being noticed? Before your body was formed in your mother’s womb-God SAW you. Impossible you say? A quick reminder for you God is all-knowing. Nothing is impossible for God.
There is a third evidence that you are noticed. It’s your name. None of us are named after a fungus. But we all have a name. It is personal and identifies who we are. God notices you and he knows your name.
In John 10:3b we read these words… “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” No fear about being referred to as a sheep. Jesus calls himself a shepherd. It works. The point is God knows your name. He notices, and he knows you…even your secrets.
When you lay your head on your pillow tonight, say to yourself, “God knows me. He notices me.” What is the most important truth? The maker of fungus made you…and, here it is-He loves you. You are loved, and noticed by the ONE who matters most.