Almost everyone has a dream of finding a lost treasure, winning the lottery or otherwise striking it rich. It’s the theme of numerous adventure books and movies such as the Indiana Jones series. It is also the motivation behind the popularity about true stories of someone from a poor family working hard and building a fortune out of almost nothing. Microsoft, Google and Facebook come to mind. And, I think every child, at least in the United States, has heard the fairy tale about a pot of gold to be found at the end of a rainbow.
I remember one Saturday morning when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, about six or seven, I think, When I saw a rainbow that ended over a hill in our pasture. I ran to the top of the hill and sure enough, the rainbow ended in a clump of dead bushes about a quarter of a mile away. I ran back to the house and yelled at my mom that I was going to look in those bushes for the gold. She and my grandmother just smiled and said to go ahead. i took off running as fast as I could across the pasture, which was downhill in that direction, and gravity helped me get going almost faster than I could keep up with myself. My sister’s horse, Joe was standing over our cattle, and watched me running as if to ask where that silly boy was running to this time. Even the calves were amused and watched me run.
The closer I came to the bushes, the dimmer the rainbow became. So I tried to run faster. I didn’t want it to disappear before I got there. I ran full speed the whole way, which was a considerable distance for a boy my age. I started looking through the bushes for the pot of gold. I knew what the pot would look like because I had seen pictures of the pots in story books. I didn’t find a pot of gold, just a rusty old tin can, a spider who was irritated at me for disturbing her web. I don’t think it was Charlotte. And I found a hundred or so very sharp grass seeds that stuck in my socks. It took me 15 minutes to pull them out after I walked slowly back up to the house back at the house. I told my mother that I didn’t find any gold. My grandmother suggested that perhaps, just perhaps, I had looked in the wrong end of the rainbow.
Some true stories have taken on the status of legend, such as the story of the lost dutch man’s mine, named for German immigrant Jacob Waltz (1810-91). The story started about 1870, which was when Waltz was thought to have found a rich gold deposit which he kept secret. The mine is thought to be somewhere in the Superstition Mountains East of Phoenix, Arizona. An estimated 8,000 people look for his mine every year. Some never return from their search. The bones of three Colorado hikers were found in the desert several years after they went missing. The Lost Dutch Man State Park was founded in 1977 on 292 acres next to the Tonto National Forest.
Four major gold rushes sparked dreams of miners in the US. The earliest was in Cabarrus County, N. Carolina, in 1799. The next was the Georgia gold rush of 1829. The most famous was the California gold rush of 1848-1855, which was followed by the Klondike rush of 1896-99). The California rush inspired many books and movies, the Klondike rush not so many. Rushes in other countries such as the South African rush and the 1695 rush in Brazil caught the interest of thousands more minors, the majority of whom never found any gold.
Gamblers hope to become rich by playing poker or betting on horses and sports. There’s a joke about the man who did well in Los Vegas. He drove there in a $50,000 Mercedes, and came home in a $250,000 Grey Hound. The owners don’t build those huge casinos, pay huge utility bills and wages to employees by losing money. Most gamblers are losers, just like the majority of gold rush miners went broke.
Prosperity preachers would have you believe that however much money you give to God- and they strongly imply that means giving to their ministry- God will give you ten times the amount back. If that worked everyone would be giving to the ministries! The only people who get rich are the preachers.
The Bible tells us not to store up treasure on earth where moth and rust corrupts it: A large percentage of lottery winners go broke in a year or two. And, the stock market crash attests to how insecure our fortunes are in this world, whether we have $100 dollars or 100 million. Rather, we should build up treasure in heaven where it’s secure (Matthew 6:19, 20). No way exists by which we can lose that treasure. It’s guaranteed by God.
The key to building up treasure in heaven is in your core values, the thing that matters most to you in this life, because “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Jesus tells us that we should love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength (Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27). In other words, if you put God first in your life, then you will find true incorruptible treasure beyond anything you could possibly obtain from this world. After all, God not only created the earth, He created and sustains the universe. If He takes care of the lilies of the field and little birds, will He not that much more take care of you? Biblical prosperity nd treasure has nothing to do with money or worldly fortunes, although some like Solomon achieved those things. It means achieving the goals God has given you to do here before leaving for heaven. If you put God and His work first in your life, He will see to it that you are cared for here on earth to the degree that He has set for you.
Putting God and His work first requires a whole new set of core values, a complete paradigm shift. But it’s the only way to find true riches. Start shifting today.