Good as gold ... even better!

by Jaynan Clark Egland (President, WordAlone Network)

January 3, 2003

The gold rush of 1849 drew prospectors from around the world to seek their fortunes in California. Those who traveled from Australia, China and Europe risked the treacherous seas. Many died before ever stepping onto that coast. Those who crossed this great continent were faced with sickness and death from exposure to the elements and epidemic levels of cholera. They left behind their families, their friends, their very lives to seek after the “prospects” of striking it rich, staking the claim, the “rush” of finding their fortunes in real gold.

The numbers of those who died in search of riches or who found nothing far outnumbered those who struck it rich. History records that as the case for all “rushes.”

Real gold is widely distributed across the world, though it is rare. There are 9 billion metric tons of gold in the oceans of this world, yet it is too costly to recover. The cost of seeking our own fortunes and treasure – of striking it rich – are too high whether by land or by sea.

Found next to gold in many areas is a substance called iron pyrite. Iron pyrite also is referred to as “fool’s gold” by prospectors. It doesn’t look much like gold if you hold it in your hand and examine it, but when panning for gold in a creek, even the most accomplished fortune hunter can easily be deceived. The Native Americans used iron pyrite for mirrors and to make fires. It can reflect enough so you can see yourself in it, and when you strike two pieces together the resulting sparks can burn you.

Perhaps we have much to learn about our own “prospects” from ye ol’ prospector … all gold, real or fake, is “fool’s gold.” Whenever and wherever we seek our fortune or treasure, other than in the person of Jesus Christ, our Crucified and Risen Savior, we are the fools. Like so many of us, the institutional church has made decisions in the past to pursue paths that all look a lot like prospecting–seeking fortune, power and authority—somewhere or in something other than Christ alone. Fool’s gold! Hold up that mirror and what do you see? Not a pretty picture, and the fire it produces will burn us all up, very quickly.

Jesus, the old prospector himself, risked it all … left everything behind to make his claim on you. Your heart and soul are his only treasure. The only “strike” he ever heard was the hammer pounding the spikes into his hands. The only “rush” was his blood poured out to stake a claim on you for eternity with him.

Your prospects, and that of Christ’s church are good this new year. Ye ol’ prospector himself, Jesus Christ, is as good as gold, even better. He alone is your treasure. Don’t be a fool and seek other valuables, they will never pan out for you or for the church as a whole.