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Several months ago, I enjoyed the company of a friend and her two younger children. Their family had recently come back from a vacation. Evan, the youngest, was so excited about one of their outings-a mining expedition. It had been on his bucket list (that’s funny to consider as he was five at the time) for years. He excitedly showed us his treasure from mining. He held two vials filled with water. Each vial also contained a speck of something else. One speck was bright and attracted my eye immediately. The other vial had a small pebble. It almost appeared brown and I visually rejected it in my initial scan. 

Erin told me about the experience. Her son was relentless in his pursuit and the family was ready to go well before he had “struck gold.”

“Evan, haven’t we had enough fun?”

“I want to find gold!”

“Come on, Buddy. Time to turn in our miner’s pan.”

“I haven’t any yet!”

As he was digging through the shallow stream and sifting the rocks from his pan, he discovered it is hard to find gold. Yet it was frustratingly easy to find what is known as fool’s gold.

With the season upon us, may we be like skilled miners, discerning the value of what we give and what we seek.

Pyrite, or fool’s gold, has a brassy, gold appearance. Pyrite is shiny and when you’re mining for gold, it is easy to spot! I imagine that the design of it yells out to those in the area, “Hey, come check me out. Take a look!” A miner, or little boy, in this case, is easily drawn to the shine. Each time, however, the brilliant display would visually register with the miner and be dismissed after fingers scan the piece. Pyrite not only has a color difference but has a different weight than the valuable metal, gold. Pyrite is much lighter than gold. It is also jagged and sharp in texture. Gold is curved along the edges, almost soft, but weighs more than pyrite. These differences make me reflect on God’s design. 

Is God revealing something within the scenario of Pyrite versus gold?

The image of the coconut crab from Moana comes to mind and I wonder if sometimes our appetites are like Tamatoa’s. As a minor antagonist, the crab is both a distasteful and curious character. His presence and propensity for shiny objects may offer a nod to the lesser instincts of humanity. With our inner pleasure and attraction for brilliance, do we too sing, “I’d rather be shiny,” in praise of glitter? Are we satiated with the lesser value delivered through entertainment, distraction, or cheap social exchanges? Are we like Evan in a relentless pursuit of true value, though it costs us in patience, persistence, and focus?

Yes, glitter and Pyrite give off the illusion of attraction with a lure for desire. But glitter ain’t gold! Discernment is needed to identify what is real, valuable, and worthy of attention. With this season upon us, may we be like skilled miners, discerning the value of what we give and what we seek.

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