08 Jun

Treasure hunt

Taken from the intimation sheet: 8 June 2014

When I was a young man on a mission in England, we were asked to go round the doors asking people what they thought of the local church; whether they had heard of it, or visited etc. Our last question was designed to open up conversation – ‘what do you think of Jesus?’ This was a pretty terrifying proposition for us all, but our leader gave us wise advice that I’ve never forgotten, he said:

“If some people reject you, be gracious and polite and move on. You’re only looking for the treasure God has for you.”

I’ve always remembered that phrase – ‘you’re only looking for the treasure God has for you’. He has soil prepared for a harvest, treasure waiting to be found, our job is simply to look for it.

I was reminded of that story when I read the following account of a goldmine in Colorado:

“Gold! Gold!” were the shouts echoing through the hills near the town of Leadville, Colorado, in 1862. The country was in the midst of the gold rush, and men by the thousands were searching for fortunes in the bottom of their panning tins.

Leadville quickly earned a nasty reputation among the prospectors though “It’s that black sand!” they complained. “It blocks up the sluice boxes. It fills the panning holes we dug the day before. It stains and ruins clothes.” The black sand seemed to cover every gold nugget with grime and grit and make a mockery of any attempt to find your fortune. While prospectors came to Leadville in great numbers, they soon left discouraged, blaming the black sand and moving on in search of easier streams to riches.

Sixteen years later the ruins of Leadville told of a boomtown gone bust. Only the remnants of abandoned cabins and sluice boxes remained.
To the abandoned mines and sluice boxes of Leadville came two mining men, William Stevens and Alvinus Wood. Convinced there was still gold beneath the surface, they began buying old claims. Initial gold finds heightened their expectations. But they too encountered the problems of the earlier prospectors. The black sand hampered progress until it appeared the entire project would fail.

One day Stevens decided to send a sample of “that black stuff” to the East Coast for analysis. To their surprise, the men found that the black sand was lead carbonate-loaded with silver!
Stevens and Wood bought claims throughout the area and opened up ‘the Rock Mine’, the first silver-producing mine in the district. They found their treasure after all, mining in what seemed to be the most hopeless soil possible.

Discouragement is a common experience for Christians, we labour to tell people the Good News of Jesus and often see little response. But there is treasure to be found. No matter how many troubling statistics we may read, no matter how far society may drift into secularism, all that matters is that God has not changed. His love has not lessened, His Spirit is still with us, and his Gospel is still the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).

To a discouraged Paul, in a city hostile to the Gospel, the Lord said: “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent… for I have many in this city who are my people.” (Acts 18:10)

He has his people in this town too, he has his treasure waiting to be found. It may not look very promising – some may suggest it’s hopeless. Not so! Keep mining away till you strike gold!

Yours in His service
Ross