The Gold Mine
18I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (Rev 3:18)
There once was a man of prominence who acquired a large gold mine. And being a man of very great wealth he had little need of gold. However this rich man did have a dream that gold will not buy, nor his wealth provide.
Many are the days the rich man would settle into his porch swing and look out over the vast fields and lush gardens that bedecked his expansive estate.
"Such a waste," he would say to himself as tho he were speaking to another. "All of this beauty and pleasure, yet here I sit, alone, with not a soul with whom to share my good fortune."
Choice, we discover in this journey called Life, is not as much a gift as it is a bane. The first two of our kind encountered this fact in a garden much like the one that lay before the rich man.
For I am certain that you who read this account have considered many avenues that the rich man might take to overcome his dilemma. And I have no doubt that you would be more than willing to volunteer yourself in an endeavor to fulfill a rich man's dream.
"I'm sure there are," the rich man replied, "But I also know that it will be the selfish and full who will push those in need aside who will get it, and such people I have no desire to be associated with. However I am developing an idea that might solve my quandary while providing entertainment for myself and others in the performing of it."
Springtime lay upon the land, as it very often does on the estate. Seasons of distress seem to flee before the might of Spring in the land possessed by the rich man.
Upon arrival at the mine, the rich man paused, and listened, then began to whistle in harmony with the symphony of birds and crickets that serenaded him whenever he availed himself.
Deer, and rabbits, and a host of animals too numerous to mention approached from every corner of the field; each with a desire, which was certain to be fulfilled, to be given attention by the one they loved, and were loved by in return.
After a time, the rich man returned to his task at hand. He stood before the entrance of the mine for a long period with an expression of studious concentration, then he entered the mine and planned his strategy. He noted the exceptional size and depth of the mine, the high ceiling, and the rather smooth walls that were reminiscent of a cathedral. And while he knew of a certainty that the mine was rich with pure gold, none appeared on the surface but rather lay deep in the mine shaft where there lay fears and dangers and where it must be dug in order to be extracted.
The rich man then returned to his wagon and withdrew from it a long string of lights which he attached high on the ceiling of the mine, causing the cavern to be as bright as the day.
He then filled a large bucket with glue; and using a brush he painted the entire surface of the mine until it was much like a giant flytrap. Upon this glue-covered wall he carefully applied a dense layer of fool's gold that he had previously cut into chunks the size of which would comfortably fit into one's fist.
Having accomplished his task, he stood back a pace or two and beheld his handiwork. The mine glistened in the flickering light with the result that the cavern took on the appeal of a Los Vegas nightclub. So thorough was the rich man's labors that there was not a speck of bare wall to be seen between the nuggets of fool's gold.
The rich man could not help but smile with self-satisfaction as he returned to his wagon, both content with his labors, and picturing in his mind what he was about to do.
"They will certainly require refreshments," said he to himself. "I will set up a long table here by the opening and load it with plenty of nourishing and pleasant food and drink."
And that he did, a banquet for a king would not have been more appealing.
The project completed, he set many chairs around the long table full of pleasantries. Then he returned to the wagon and one by one pulled from it a dozen picks and shovels which he placed conspicuously near the opening of the mine, out of harm's way, but in sight for anyone who wished to use them.
This accomplished, he then placed a large sign high over the entrance of the mine. The sign was inscribed thusly: FREE GOLD TODAY FOR THE POOR. ONE NUGGET ONLY, PLEASE.
Within an incredibly short period of time the field that lay before the rich man's gold mine was filled with people of every nature anxiously thrusting one another about in effort to be the closest to the entrance of the mine wherein lay the gold they so craved. The rich man, risking both his composure and the strong possibility of being stampeded, stood before the crowd in effort to restrain them from their intentions.
"Please be patient and respectful of one another. Refrain from violence. There is more than enough gold for everyone. Let us wait until all who wish to come have arrived."
Momentarily the field was abounding with people and stood divest of the grass and the dignity it once held. With everyone in the community now in attendance, the rich man raised his hand and proclaimed; "As the sign above the mine indicates, the intention of this venture is to assist the poor and needy. If you are not in need, please step aside and allow those who are in the most need to enter first. Be considerate, use decorum, and uphold your dignity. Once the needy have had their turn, those remaining may enter the mine. Keep in mind; each of you must take but one nugget of gold and no more, thus assuring that there will be enough for everyone. Taking more than you are allotted is not only stealing from me, but from the poor as well. Alright, if you are ready, you may now enter, but please be calm and orderly."
Having said all he had to say, and surviving the experience as well, the rich man stood aside in order to observe human nature at its worst, and perhaps at its best as well.
The first to reach the opening of the mine, having stepped over and upon the fallen in their charge for gold, were several dozen men and women dressed in finery and jewels, shoving one another aside and yelling at anyone who happened to be in their way. These elite of the city grabbed the nuggets closest to the opening which they stuffed in their sacks, pockets, handbags and whatever else in which they could carry them; then, having procured all they were able, they turned and withdrew themselves from the field with neither a nod of thanks nor a how-do-you-do to the rich man.
With the exception of one, who approached the table, grabbed a handful of cake, and said, "Thanks, mister. Ya' know, if you got any more of that gold, you an' me could strike up a deal or something. You know, be partners and buddies if you know what I mean."
"That is considerate of you," the rich man replied, "however, I believe I will pass on your offer."
"Your loss, buddy," the man with a mouth full of cake said as he joined the others who fled the field with their loot.
After the well-to-do and gentry of the community cleared the opening of the mine, the working class men and women flooded into the mine, behaving very much like the group that had preceded them. These also filled every cavity they could find on their person with nuggets, then went there way. However, there were many who, after having plucked all the gold they could handle, sat at the banquet table and gorged themselves with the food provided.
"Thank you, Sir," said a lady to the rich man, assumably a housewife and mother by her appearance and demeanor, "you don't know what this means to me and my family. We were in desperate need, and this will take care of the bills we owe."
The rich man rose from his chair and responded, "That's quite all right. I'm glad I could help. But here, allow me purchase that gold nugget you hold, you will need cash instead of a nugget that will be difficult to get rid of."
So the lady sold her nugget of fool's gold, and left the field with the others, filled and satisfied.
As the working class people filed out of the door of the mine, having had to go farther in to the mine to obtain their nugget of "gold," the rich man observed that the needy, the elderly and the infirm sat upon the grass or at the table, patiently awaiting their opportunity, having been unable to fight their way in as had all the others who had gone in before.
When the door cleared once more, the poor and the needy slowly entered the mine. The rich man noted that many of these helped others who were unable to help themselves. He also watched as some filled their pockets with nuggets, and their face with food, as did those who had gone in before, then went their way.
Among this last group were twelve men of adequate health and stature, who could have without difficulty thrust themselves ahead of all the others, but who chose to remain behind with the weak and the infirm.
The rich man observed with much interest as the twelve men returned from the mine, took up the picks and shovels that lay before the door, then re-entered the mine. After a time the men once more emerged from the mine holding nuggets of gold which they had dug from deep within the mine, then they proceeded to exchange the real gold for the false that the needy and disabled had found.
Having provided for all the needy, the men re-entered the mine, and after a longer period of time emerged carrying a large pile of gold that they had dug from deep within the mine, which they placed on the table near the rich man.
Then each man selected one small nugget of gold and placed it in his pocket. "Thank you very much, Sir. This will be a great help and a blessing," one of the men said as the others nodded agreement. "I wish there was some way to show my appreciation. Would you like for us to dig out more gold for you, or do you have something else we could do for you?"
The rich man, controlling his emotions, rose from his chair and said, "I have all I need, or ever will need. However, there is something I desire more than anything else in the world, which no one but the twelve of you can provide, and then, only if it is done by free choice and with a cheerful heart" he said. "But first I would like to ask you why you chose to dig for your gold rather that take that which was obvious as did all the others who entered the mine before you?."
"It's been my experience," the man with the pick said, "anything too easy isn't likely to be real. And if it shines too bright, it's most likely phony. Besides, anything I can get without working for it, just isn't worth having."
"I agree," responded the rich man. "However, what I offered you and everyone else who responded to my call, was a gift. It required nothing on your part to obtain but to pluck it from the wall. You can't work for a gift, or else it isn't a gift."
"That's true, Sir," said the man with the pick still in hand, which he placed upon the table. "And I surely do appreciate the gift. But a gift that isn't appreciated turns that gift into a debt unpaid. If I took what it looked like you were offering, the easy one dangled before my eyes, I would have had nothing but a pretty rock and a false hope. Once I put this here pick to the wall, I found the real gift you offered, the one that by your sign you said was in here and waiting for us. And with all you have given me, what kind of a man would I be if I just took it and run like an unappreciative brat? What I mean to say is, I know that your gift was freely given. But what I want you to know is, so is mine to you. I don't have gold to offer, and if I did, I wouldn't need your offer. But I've got two hands and a strong back, and that I am offering to you as a free gift in return and in appreciation."
The rich man nodded with a smile. "Well said," he replied, then he turned his eyes toward the field that lay before the mine. "Do you see all those hurting people? All the lost, the crippled, the hungry, the aged, the lonely? You showed compassion for them earlier, and they are all helping one another as best they are able, and have not left being unthankful as have all the others. These have nowhere to go, and have expressed appreciation as have the twelve of you, and they have expressed a willingness to serve. I desire that you twelve reside here with me on my estate and help serve those in the field who have remained. If you choose to accept my offer, you will be to me friends and servants, not only to me, but to all those as well.
"You have demonstrated your willingness and your capacity to do as I have requested. And if you refuse my offer, there is none to take your place.
"That is my wish, and that is my desire."
23And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (Rev 2:23)
6For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. (2 Tim 4:)
6If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 7But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.. (1 Tim 4:)
17These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. 18For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (2 Pet 2:)
7For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
10If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2 John 1)
12These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
16These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. 17But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. 19These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. 20But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. 24Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen. (Jude 1:)
1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. (2 Tim 3:)
3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Thes 2:)
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. (Ps 19:10)
72 The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.(Ps 119:)
127 Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.
128 Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way. (Ps 119:)
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