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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Panning for gold

A recent post by a friend bore a small image of gold flecks among scattered dirt.  The caption read:  "Anyone can find the dirt in someone.  Be the one that finds the gold." (The Elijah List)  Quite a profound thought if you really take a moment to think on this one!  We all do more than our fair share of pointing out the dirt - I wonder how well we do with finding the gold in others?  Those who seek good find it - focus on the evil and you will see it.  As we are faced with bad stuff happening all around our country, such as shootings at schools, holiday parties, and even drive buys, it is almost hard to see the good in others at times.  We get bombarded with the bad so frequently with our social media, the good almost pales in comparison.  Sometimes it takes a change of focus on our part to begin to see the good.  You know, a gold miner doesn't set out to remove the dirt - he sets out to find the tiny flecks of gold in the pan!

Those who seek good find the goodwill of others, but those who look for evil are sure to find it. (Proverbs 11:27 VOICE)

The miner has a whole lot of dirt to deal with compared to the tiniest flecks of gold he is intent on finding, doesn't he?  In comparison, the dirt far outweighs the gold.  It has more mass than the gold, but it doesn't outweigh the gold in value!  The gold is what his heart desires - not the dirt.  There is an over-abundance of dirt - but the value of the dirt if not much.  Amazing how we continue to focus so much on the dirt which has the lowest value as that which should occupy our attention, huh?  Imagine if the miner did that.  He'd see the dirt, become discouraged by the mound of dirt in front of him, and figure out all that was in that pile was worthless.  Nothing could be further from the truth, though.  He just hasn't uncovered the good stuff in that dirt.  When we learn to look past the dirt in another person's life, we begin to mine the gold (the stuff of value and real worth).  It isn't the easiest thing to do to change our focus, but it is the most rewarding!  I don't know about you, but I am more interested in finding value in something rather than pointing out the flaws.  

Recently, I got new counter tops in my home.  The thirty-plus year old grey Formica ones were scarred and worn quite thin in places.  Over a couple of years, I have been consistently putting away money to buy the quartz ones which now adorn my kitchen with rich color and functional use.  While the old ones were still functional, they had just nothing left in the realm of beauty.  Now, the expense was greater for the quartz, but the beauty of them is amazing!  I could have purchased Formica again at a fraction of the cost, but there was something about the quartz that just brought out the beauty of my kitchen in ways the Formica ones could not.  Sometimes we have to give a little bit more in order to uncover the beauty we all know is there in another person's life.  We don't always uncover it on the first try, nor do we always discover it in huge quantities.  The more we are willing to look for the beauty in what is there, the more we might just discover there is hidden beauty we didn't know was there.

My cabinets are the original.  While others are painting theirs to cover over the stained wood of "olden days", (one of the latest trends in decorating today), I just couldn't bring myself to cover over the beauty of the wood.  In fact, the counter tops do something to the wood to bring out their beauty.  Rather than hiding that beauty under paint, I am encouraged to bring out the richness of their graininess.  Why?  That grain speaks to me of the growth they had to go through to become the thing they are today.  When you look at a tree, what do you see?  It is likely you see the bark and even a few scars cut across that bark.  You don't see the grain until it is milled and becomes something such as these cabinets.  The grain displayed is what speaks of the strain growth demanded of the tree.  Nothing grows without strain - did you realize that?  Nothing of worth is uncovered until you look beyond the surface and begin to explore what makes up the thing on the "inside".

This isn't a lesson on how to pick the right counter top, or a debate on painting over the grain of the rich wood of your cabinets, though.  It is a lesson on looking beyond the surface in another's life - to begin to discover the richness of the grain which lies beneath and speaks of the many storms they have weathered to see the growth which is really there.  Nothing of value just pops out into the open for the easy-taking.  It is discovered in the sometimes tedious work of discovery, much like the miner with his pan, steadily and painstakingly panning for the gold.  At first, the effort seems hard, but when you realize the first sign of gold in that pile of dirt, you begin to feel encouraged by your discovery, don't you?  When we keep panning for the hidden gold, we may just realize the dirt falls away and the thing which remains, shining back at us is nothing but the purest of gold.  Just sayin!