Tag Archives: gold

All That is Gold Does Not Glitter

Story of the Day for Thursday July 12, 2012

 

All That is Gold Does Not Glitter

 

                   I’ve come down to rescue them . . . and to take them out of that land to a good and spacious land – a land that flows with milk and honey. 

                                                               Exodus 3:8

When James Marshall discovered a small gold nugget at John Sutter’s mill near San Francisco, the word leaked out. Soon, about 400,000 men stampeded to California to search for their fortune.

The amount of gold and the ease in collecting it became more exaggerated by the day. One miner, on his way to California, was doubtful of the wild reports and said, “If I don’t pick up more than a hatful of gold a day, I shall be perfectly satisfied.”

 

There was so much money rumored to be made “in the diggings” that it was difficult to hire anyone to work in a store or shop in California. When a ship arrived at San Francisco, the crew would often abandon their duties to search for gold. Five hundred sailing ships were abandoned at San Francisco and left to rot in the harbor. Boat captains were so desperate for crewmen that they had to pay a lowly cook twice the amount of the captain’s salary.

The military was on hand to keep order among the hundreds of thousands of miners who deluged the area. But over half of the military men deserted their posts to join the miners in their search for riches.

The miners discovered that the journey itself to the gold fields was long and hazardous. Once they arrived, they were forced to provide their own shelter. Prices on all food and goods were astronomical. Disease was widespread. And prospecting was hard, hard work.

Although a few made a fortune, most of the miners didn’t find enough gold to survive, and straggled home with nothing to show for their efforts.

 

I think we all know where this is going, don’t we? I launch into a reproachful warning on the evils of materialism, and we all frown and wonder how some people can be so greedy.

Not so fast.

When God promised to take his people to a land of milk and honey, he, apparently didn’t think it was wrong to offer it, nor a sin for his people to desire it.  And God heightened their interest by appealing to the land’s wealth: “a place where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper from the hills.”

 

True, the gold rush brought out the worst in many greedy miners. But it also brought out the best in those for whom the gold was not the real purpose. It was the dream, the adventure. Though most of the miners returned home with little or nothing, yet the majority glowed about their experience. They viewed it as a challenge, an adventure. They would wax nostalgic in recalling one of the most gratifying times in their lives.

All that is gold does not glitter.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

His Face Betrayed His Secret

Story of the Day for Wednesday December 28, 2011

His Face Betrayed His Secret

                  Those who look to the Lord are radiant; their faces will never be covered with shame.

                                                                 Psalm 34:5

On February 4, 1863, six men left the mining camp of Bannock (later renamed “Bannack” after a clerical error in Washington D.C.).  These prospectors went looking for gold by the Yellowstone River, but, by intruding on Indian land, they were captured by Crow warriors and held captive in a large Indian camp.

They escaped, but were pursued relentlessly by the Crow. The prospectors were hungry and frequently lost.

On May 26, they were camped at a little lake in the Gravelly Mountain range. Two of the men, Bill Fairweather and Barney Hughes, climbed to a nearby summit which they named “Old Baldy.”

It was a good day. Their overview of the area gave them confidence they were no longer pursued by Indians. They identified a landmark which told them they were only four days from Bannock. They had the leisure to shoot elk and bighorn sheep to replenish their nearly exhausted food supplies. They had time to rest their horses.

But best of all, at a little creek, they discovered gold. Lots of it.

 

They christened the stream, Alder Creek, and headed into town. They all agreed not to breathe a word about their discovery to a soul. They would go to Bannock to resupply and then return to Alder Creek to continue panning.

But, after they restocked their supplies and headed back to their gold find, they were shocked to discover half the town of Bannock following them.

Alright, who squealed?

No one. The miners from town said their beaming faces gave them away.

 

In his psalm, David says that those who look to the Lord are radiant.

The moon emits no light of its own. It shines because it reflects the light it receives from the sun. When our hearts are exposed to the blazing brilliance of God’s love, we simply reflect it.

Sour-faced Christians, on the other hand, advertise a God who prefers to scowl.

 

When we talk about reflecting the joy of the Lord by our radiant faces, however, we are walking into a dangerous place. Simply put: it encourages hypocrisy. Have you ever seen believers who wear phony, manufactured happiness? Their plastered smiles don’t look like a reflection of God’s grace. They look artificial – as if they feel a need to impress others with their glowing “radiance.”

Instead, they look kind of creepy.

 

Jesus radiated light. He was the light of the world. He didn’t have to put on an act. Sometimes he was sad and wept; sometimes he was angry. But I don’t think he had to tell you he lived in harmony with the Father. His face betrayed his secret.

                                        (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Led to the Truth

Story of the Day for Tuesday May 31, 2011

Led to the Truth

 

                   Jesus said, “Come, follow me.”  And they left their nets and followed him. 

                                                                         Matthew 4:20

 

Secretary of State, William Seward, negotiated with Russian officials. At four in the morning in March of 1867, he hammered out a treaty.  Russia agreed to sell some of their territory for about 2 pennies an acre.

Many critics were furious.  Horace Greeley, the famous journalist of the day, called the agreement “a dark deed done in the night.”  Soon the purchase was popularly dubbed “Seward’s Folly.”

Seward had just negotiated the purchase of over a half million square miles called Alaska.  The timber had no value – there were abundant forests much closer.  There were few profitable resources in fish and fur.  But Seward had the foresight to see the importance of Alaska from a diplomatic standpoint.  Relations between Russia and Great Britain were tense.  Seward bought Alaska, in part,  to ease international relations.

But here is the point: while Seward had good reasons to buy Alaska, he was totally ignorant of the best reasons: the gold and oil.  Today, Alaska has more natural resources than any other state in the Union, but Seward didn’t know that at the time.

 

When Peter and Andrew left their fishing trade to follow Jesus, they had no idea that his purpose was to be tortured to death as the sacrifice for our sins, and then rise from the dead, so we might have eternal life.   They had been following Jesus for quite some time before Jesus ever explained his true mission, and when he did, the disciples were either confused or upset!  Peter was shocked.  “This shall never happen to you, Lord!”

Wait a minute – if the disciples did not understand that Jesus would die and rise for our salvation until after the resurrection, then why did they follow him?

The disciples did not drop their fishing nets and follow a man they had never seen.  People so crowded the shore to hear this man that Jesus had to commandeer Peter’s boat and push off from shore to teach the multitudes.  Before Peter and the other disciples left everything to follow Jesus, they had already seen his compassion for the sick.  They had already witnessed his mercy to sinners.

 

Just as Seward made a sound decision, but ended up getting far more than he could imagine, so the disciples followed Jesus because he was changing their lives, but found out later that he would save their souls.

God doesn’t dump the whole truckload of Truth on us the minute we believe.

Jesus did not immediately reveal the whole truth of the Gospel to his own disciples.  Gradually and patiently, he led them to that truth.  If you feel guilty because you don’t immediately blurt out the plan of salvation when you first meet a new face, maybe your feelings of guilt are not coming from God.   Maybe, like Jesus, we can begin by demonstrating the compassion and mercy of the kingdom life. . . so that they may long for, and find, its source.

                                                                (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarr)