Monday, November 20, 2017

I am a coin collector.  Not a professional one, but a Piggy Bank kind.  Once each year I will go to the bank and have my coin collection exchanged for paper money.  It usually will amount from eighty to one hundred dollars.  About three years ago I was in the back yard and saw something in the dirt.  I reached down to see what it was and found a well-worn, 1915 Nickle.  My first thought was, “I have hit the mother lode!”  If it had been in mint condition, it would have brought more money.  In its present one, maybe five dollars.  Maybe!

How many readers have seen a 1943 penny?  If it is in mint condition, it has a silver appearance.  No, it isn’t silver.  It has a zinc coating over steel.  Copper was needed during World War II to make cases for ammunition.  The government issued the zinc covered penny as a substitute during that year.  With a lot of use, the zinc wore off and the steel part turned black.  With moisture, it began rusting.  Those aren’t worth much.  A mint one will bring about fifty cents, unless it has a double struck “D.”  That one is worth between thirty to sixty dollars.  About forty copper blanks from 1942 got caught in the presses and were stamped with the 1943 date.  According to one article, if yours is not counterfeit, you have struck the mother lode!  They are worth between one hundred twenty-five thousand to one million dollars!   Can you imagine digging up an old Mason jar in the backyard and among the coins in it is a genuine 1943 copper penny?

Jesus talked about a man finding a treasure in a field.  Some focus upon the treasure rather than the point Jesus was making.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field(Matthew 13:44).

Most of us would relish finding a 1943 copper penny, or even a double struck 1955 one, worth about $27,000.  The only problem, the “get rich quick” syndrome often leaves its owner in despair.  A gambler kissed his wife as he left with their last five dollars to visit the local casino.  Luck was with him as he built his winnings up to $50,000.  He thought he would bet the entire amount, so he could go home with a larger fortune.  The wheel spun, slowed down, and stopped.  He lost it all.  He returned home.  His wife asked, “How did you do?”  He replied, “I lost the five dollars.”

The treasure of some is wrapped up in what they can gain in this life.  They may sell their soul for property, power, or perversion and lose it to mischief, misapplication, or misfortune.   Even if they enjoy it all their life, death loans it to another.  Possession is not harmful unless it owns you.  Jesus told his disciples, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?(Matthew 16:26).

Even in religion, some preach a “get rich” gospel.  Give the preacher your “faith offering” of $1,000 and you will receive double or triple that amount in a few days.  If you don’t, it isn’t the preacher’s fault.  You are at fault because you didn’t have enough faith!  Like one preacher, the logo is, “I want my pie in the sky, NOW!”  That “pie” may end up on your face, not in your pocket book!

The Hebrew writer tells us about someone who recognized where the better “pie” is located.

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.   He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.  He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.  By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible(Hebrews 11:24-27).

Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness(Matthew 6:33).  Where is your “mother lode”?