Did you know that major gold rushes in the Yukon and southwestern USA in the 19th century started with the discovery of mere flakes and nuggets? It was the hope that there was more to be found that compelled untold numbers of people to sell all they had to embark on quests to find it in the hopes they’d find what they were looking for, discover vast riches, and be set for life.
I’m sure the conditions were pretty bad since this was before electricity and indoor heating. The winter can get very cold, especially further up North. But those who had their eyes set on a particular prize found it worth it.
The author of Hebrews writes:
“let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1b-2, English Standard Version)
Because Christ had his eyes set on the joy of the prize, namely us and the seat at the right hand of the throne of God, it was easy to despise the shame and physical pain he was to endure.
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 For 4:17-18)
When we see the things that are unseen, and run the race for the eternal things that matter, then the afflictions, troubles and persecutions of this life get put into perspective and become light and momentary in comparison.
I’m reminded of a few parables of Jesus’ which drive home the idea that the reward to be obtained far outweighs the price to be paid,
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. (Matthew 13: 44-46, ESV)
Now the sorta sad discouraging part
I know a lot of Christians who can’t get their eyes off of the “seen things”. They get offended if you talk about going for the gold, and not looking at the light and momentary troubles of this seen realm. Who refuse or are unable to have faith for the supernatural aspects of God in their daily lives.
If someone tells us they found a small piece of gold buried in a field, and invited us to help them go searching and seeking for more and keep whatever we obtain, they refuse to for fear that they might not find any themselves.
They might be disappointed.
“God has blessed that person with a gift, He hasn’t blessed me with. I won’t get the same results.”
Don’t believe me?
Ask yourself if the dialogue with your friend you just had in your head when reading those statements doesn’t resemble the kind of things said to mask not believing in the supernatural aspects of God’s character happening today and NOT just in Bible days.
The doubter’s response is often something like “I don’t want to look for it, but if it shows up without me having to go looking, then I’ll believe.” Rather than having faith, or even just hope that he will find more. Often times we have to see the reward first, and then we get to see it manifest. When we see the reward, the price becomes easier to pay.
The dreamer searches every day and only finds a few ounces of gold per week for a while, on average, in say one acre’s worth of land. I don’t know the math, but a piece of gold for every acre would make the gold digger search through more and more land. He sees just enough to be hopeful there’s more where that came from.
The doubter on the other hand says “Nope, statistically speaking, I don’t want to waste my time searching for anything. I will only spend my time if it costs me very little time, very little investment, and I find something instantly.”
There’s no tenacity to that, and there certainly isn’t any faith, either. We are to walk by faith, not by certainty.
Que será, será
Now if we wanted to be consistent and take this analogy further, after untold weeks of diligent searching, the gold digger finally stubs his toe on something that turns out to be way too big to lift with his bare hands. He digs around enough of the dirt to see a humongous piece of gold, say 45 pounds worth, protruding from the ground. He calls on a few of his neighbors, not only to help him lift it into his wheelbarrow but promises a part of this find to each of these helpers once he cashes this in at a bank. He is set for life.
What about the doubter who didn’t want to get dirty? Who didn’t want to waste any of his time unless he was going to find some gold in the first five minutes? Well, if he’s like most Christians, he’ll rationalize his predicament and say “well, this is God’s plan for my life, and that’s God’s plan for that golddigger’s life” “Christ already did everything on the cross and now all I need to do is receive” or some other excuse for passivity, and not recognizing the difference having faith and boldness could have made in his life.
Friend, there is gold that isn’t even buried that deep in the pages of the Word of God, not even hardly hidden at all but in plain sight for all who want to go after it and devour the Word of God and live by it!
Are you going to be a dreamer or a doubter?
Faith is action, not agreeing with doctrine. The second chapter of James talks about faith without works being dead. Faith is not mental, it’s acted upon. One person in our analogy acted on his faith that he’d find more gold after seeing a few glimpses, but the other refused to act on it and likewise didn’t reap anything because he never sowed any of his time in faith.
Failure to look will guarantee failure in finding.
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If you’d like to visit this topic further, get yourself a copy of my book Increase Your Faith: Practical Steps to Help You Believe For The Impossible for the price of a cup of coffee (or a few Tim Horton’s coffees).