True Gold

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What makes a man rich?  Our friend John shares a story of how God used a piece of gold to teach him true value.

At the beginning of the new year, the GBS family went up to a campsite located near the Cajon Pass for a weekend retreat.  I had no expectations, other than that I would try and be a faithful servant. On the drive up we noticed there were people parked along the frontage road off I-15. When we got off the freeway I spotted a couple of people along the shores of the Mojave River panning for something.

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The next day we went up to the prayer caves dug into the side of the mountain to pray. After a week of heavy rains, a small gorge had been carved out leading to the drainage tunnel under the road. I climbed into the half-filled drainage tunnel and looked around.  My eye caught a glimpse of a shiny yellow rock as the sun’s light faded.  I picked up the nugget and put it in my pocket, with the plan to look at it later in better light.  I joined the others in the caves and prayed as the afternoon faded to dusk.

That night after dinner, I emptied out my pockets in the cabin and realized I had forgotten about the yellow nugget I found earlier.  Excited, I went to the bathroom, where the light seemed the brightest, to take a better look at the yellow rock.  The more I looked at it under the weak flourescent light, the more it looked like gold. Hastily I showed the golden nugget to anyone who would listen, each time with growing confidence that it might possibly be real gold.

Early Sunday morning before the dawn of sunlight, I went to the prayer caves alone to pray. I was excited with what I had discovered and wanted to pray and give thanks to God.  I searched the Bible and found a passage on treasure and read. “Do not save up for yourselves treasures here on earth, where moths and rust destroy and thieves break-in and steal.  But save up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy and thieves do not break in and
steal.” Matthew 6:19-20

In the bright light of the morning sun I realized that I had not discovered real gold, but fools gold.  I had made a fool of myself for being so sure it was real gold.  But the real importance of what I found was in it’s symbolism.  The Day is coming soon when the gold we store up in heaven will be tested in the refiner’s fire.  We live our lives not for worldly treasures but for the goal of finishing in heaven. The race we run begins when we accept Christ as our savior and the finish line is when we die.  ”his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.” 1
Corinthians 3:13

I realized the true gold I had discovered was the fellowship of brothers and sisters in Christ, the GBS family I had recently found. It is genuine faith that brings praise, glory and honor to our Lord Jesus. So if we live our lives for Christ, then Christ is within all of us who believe. “These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:7

So regardless of where you are in the race of life, whether it is halfway run or you’re behind everyone.  Do not worry and give haste. Although you can’t get the time you’ve wasted and give it back to Christ.  We can finish the race strong from this day forward and live our lives for Christ.  From when we accept Christ we live the rest of our lives for Him and run the race knowing that we have Christ within us that gives us our strength.  ”Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24

On the final day of the retreat Neil Cole gave a testimony about his father-in-law Ray who passed away with dementia.  Ray’s life made me realize that what made him a great man was Christ in him. Although dementia had stripped away the character of the man family and friend’s knew as Ray. What remained in Ray to the end was Christ, who continually manifested Himself in him.

So let us be encouraged by each others faith and live our lives so that when all is stripped away in our lives, that what remains with in us, is Christ.  The true gold I had discovered at prayer retreat was the gold that is within my GBS brothers and sisters in Christ.  ”Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day
approaching.”  Hebrews 10:25