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My outreach trips to South Africa have been with some wonderful ministry experiences. We saw African young people coming to Christ. We had the privilege of training South African youth workers to reach lost young people. And we're even training people to reach the lost and the young through radio. One afternoon we were able to sneak away long enough to visit one of the gold mines that helped make South Africa the richest country on that continent. Years ago this was the largest and richest gold mine in the world. Today, an old miner take guys like me, puts a helmet on them, gives them a light, and takes them on tours. It was fascinating to hear him describe how gold was uncovered and then extracted from deep inside the earth. At one point, he asked us to shine our light on one wall of the mine, and it sparkled with this bright, yellow gold! It was amazing - beautiful! The old miner told us, "Don't get too excited." He said, "Real gold is black. It doesn't even look like gold. That stuff that glitters, well, that's just fool's gold.
It's "values clarification time," with the help of our word for today from the Word of God. 1 Timothy 6:8-12, "If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich (that's the people who go after the stuff that glitters) fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
It's so easy to buy the values of a world that measures worth by success, by how much of the glittery stuff you have - to spend major life-energy going after more house, more car, more wardrobe, more position, more prestige. It's gold - but it's fool's gold. Notice the words God uses to describe the pursuit of more: a trap, foolish desires, harmful desires, ruin and destruction, wandering from the faith, grief. The foolishness of all this is summed up in two words God uses to describe security that is based on earth-stuff "so uncertain." That's what He calls it in 1 Timothy 6:17.
So God reveals the scam - what looks so valuable is so worthless, and the spiritual riches that may look so worthless are so valuable. Like fool's gold and real gold. The chapter goes on to describe the real gold. "But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness." Don't look for those on the Dow-Jones, but they are so much more precious than anything you'll find there and certainly a lot more lasting.
God says when you live your life to give instead of get, you will be one of those who "lay up treasures for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life" (1 Timothy 6:19) or the gold that is really gold.
Take a moment for a priority check - not about what you believe, but about how you're spending your life. Honestly now, is most of the best of your life tied up in going after fool's gold? Do you even have much energy, much time, much resource left to pursue the gold of what will last for eternity like getting to know Jesus better, getting people to heaven with you, showing Jesus' love to people who really need it, absorbing God's Word? It's time to live for what will last.
With whatever years you have left, go where the real gold is. The stuff that glitters is what most of the people around you are going for. But remember, it's just fool's gold.
Learn three secrets to loving what you do from Ron Hutchcraft's message, "How to Love Your Job No Matter What." This complimentary CD provides new perspective on how your boss, your pay, and your hard work can help you love your job.