The Pitcher Plant

By Janelle Pollard

My mother-in-law and my mom both have the greenest of thumbs. It seems they can look at any plant and tell me what it is, when and how it grows best, and its favorite places to shop. I, on the other hand, do not have this talent. However, I have always found nature documentaries fascinating.

While all plants are truly incredible in their own way, one plant that is especially interesting is the Pitcher plant. This sly specimen has a way of attracting insects to its sugary sweet upper rim. The insect, while enjoying this tasty treat, has just unknowingly become a victim of a cleverly designed trap that will lead to its own demise. Once the insect has landed on the upper rim, it will become stuck, unable to fly away. Eventually, it will fall deeper into the “pitcher” area of the plant and will ultimately drown in the plant’s digestive fluids.

While the circle of life can seem sad at times, it also offers us an important lesson, if we are willing to listen and learn from it. Just like the insect, we as humans can be enticed by certain things in life. Some of these things may be sinful and some may not be. However, if we let them take over our lives, they can lead to sin and death.

I don’t know how much forethought the average insect has, but I doubt that before flying onto the upper rim of a pitcher plant, it knew it would be its final flight. But once it landed, the sticky sweetness had taken hold and it was too late to for the insect to change its mind. Sometimes, we think we are in control and if we do something we shouldn’t “just once,” it won’t become a problem.

It doesn’t seem like someone stuggling with alcoholism or drug addiction made their first choice to partake while also thinking, “if I play my cards right, soon I’ll be a full-blown addict!” I don’t think anyone who develops a sin problem, whatever sin it may be, started out by thinking that one day it would become what it has. That’s the trap of sin.

Something may seem harmless at first, but once we start, our brain has developed new pathways and soon, we will be enticed more and more. We would all be wise to learn from the trap of the pitcher plant. If there is something we aren’t sure, or even know we shouldn’t do, we should be more wise and insightful that the victims of the pitcher plant and fly far far away!

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
(James 1:14-15)

pitcher plant about to trap an insect
Image credit: the NY Times
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