Gold Fever

Well over 50 years ago, I made my first trip to Canada. I was with my new wife and her family. My wife’s father loved to fish in a remote river valley in Ontario Province. As a ‘poor’ boy from Eastern Kentucky, I had little travel experience. I was thrilled and amazed by beauty of the rugged, near-wilderness terrain.

One afternoon while the family was taking an afternoon nap, I set out exploring. Some distance into the woods, in an area where I was sure no foot other than Native people had walked, I came across several large timbers and other remnants of a structure. It proved to be the ruins of an old mine. I moved a rotting plank and something bright and shiny caught my eye. I brushed away the debris and there it was – a gold nugget. Tossing aside other rubble, I uncover a couple more nuggets. I headed back to the cabin on a run. I was so excited to show my father-in-law the gold nuggets. He was somewhat less excited about my treasure than I was.

He smiled and said one word – “Pyrite.” Pyrite is a mineral that has a famous nickname, “Fool’s Gold“. The mineral’s gold color, metallic luster, and high specific gravity often cause it to be mistaken for gold by inexperienced prospectors like me. That day, I became acquainted with an aphorism that states, ‘all that glitters is not gold’. That was a life lesson that is as true today as it was the day I found the ‘gold’. I now understand that not everything that is shiny and superficially attractive is valuable.

The words of Jesus in John 7:24 are profound: “Don’t judge by appearances. Judge by what is right” (NIV). Another translation says, “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly” (NLT). Yet another reliable translation says, “Be honest in your judgment and do not decide at a glance (superficially and by appearances); but judge fairly and righteously” (AMP).

One of our big issues today is the persistent tendency to judge according to appearance. We often judge a person according to their looks. In his book Hide or Seek, Dr. James Dobson says that “physical beauty is the most highly valued personal attribute in our culture”. We have made it what he calls “the gold coin of human worth”. We judge a used car by its exterior. We judge a book by its cover. No matter how often we are disappointed and disillusioned, it seems we stubbornly refuse to learn that all is not gold that glitters.

Prayer: Lord, help us to see things as You see them. “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, NIV).

~ Brother Roy

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