. . . you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise (1 Peter 1:7).
Think “Gold Rush” and your mind will likely conjure up images of the unruly Western frontier. What your mind is far less likely to conjure up is a picture of Dahlonega, Georgia.
Dahlonega – a Cherokee word meaning “yellow money” – was at the center of an enthusiastic search for gold in the early nineteenth century. I recently learned that my great-grandfather on my mother’s side of the family had invested in a gold mine near Dahlonega. Nothing much ever came of that.
In the weeks ahead we’ll be witnessing a different kind of gold rush. This time the action is in London and crusty miners are replaced with highly skilled athletes from all over the world. In the deep bowels of a mine or in the throes of athletic competition, gold represents a singular attainment. You find gold and strike it rich. You win the contest and receive the gold medal. But in the life of faith, gold is seen differently.
The apostle Peter reminds us that faith in Jesus is more valuable than gold (1 Peter 1:7). Furthermore, like gold, faith is refined in testing. It is purified by fire. For followers of Jesus, gold is not for the lucky ones who happen to find it. Gold is not for the highly skilled who work hard to win it. Gold is faith itself, a life at rest in the care of God.
And here’s the thing: in the life of faith, the treasure is in the digging. The treasure is in the training. In the work of unearthing this treasure and in the efforts of training, faith is refined and developed.
The focus of these daily reflections will be on the practices, the spiritual disciplines, by which the life of faith is cultivated and refined. With a particular interest in the athletic imagery of the Olympics, we will meditate on what scripture teaches us about living a life of faith. Our desire is to run well the race that is set before us. No one, however, will run well without training to do so.
These daily meditations are offered as one part of your training plan. Being an avid spectator of the USA teams is fine for the Olympics. The role of spectator simply will not do as you seek to live your faith. It’s time to train, time to get in the game.
So come each day ready to read the scripture; come ready to think about what it says to you; come to spend time with God in prayer. Let the games begin. Go for the gold.
Gracious God, we don’t want to live our lives haphazardly, doing what we can to get by. Rather, we would live well, intentionally, with focus and purpose as we seek to become more like Jesus. In these days grant your grace, and move us to action as we pursue the gold of mature faith. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.