Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How to Spot a Gold Digger

I know some gold diggers. They’re always poking around, looking to see what they can get out of someone.

And I love them for it!

Ok, so I'm not referring to what most people think of when they hear the term "gold digger". You might also call these people “treasure hunters”. They’re the type who look for the gold in people, even if it’s hidden deep (really deep!) in there under a veneer of rock, a pile of rubble, or worse. They’ll search it out like a beachcomber with a metal detector and the minute they find something of any value whatsoever, they celebrate the find.

These are the people who look for potential and promise, not polish and perfection. They look past the obvious, past the difficult to spot the diamond in the rough – sometimes way in the rough. These people coax the unseen treasures in others to the surface. They see the artist deep inside the office worker, the teacher no one suspected in the shy one, and the poet who lives unknown in the accountant. They summon those in hiding to come out into the sunlight and reveal truth and beauty and God to us all.

Jesus is the ultimate gold digger. He looked at a rough fisherman with a loose-cannon-of-a-tongue and saw a disciple. He looked at a corrupt tax-collector and saw a righteous man waiting to see the light of day.

In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 7, we read about another diamond-in-the-rough recognized by Jesus when everyone else saw a dirty rock. Jesus was a dinner guest at someone’s house when a shunned woman – “an especially wicked sinner" (Luke 7:37, Amplified Bible) – crashed the party. She washed Jesus' feet with her tears and hair and poured expensive, rare perfume on them. The host of the dinner party thought to himself, “If this man were really a prophet, he’d know what sort of woman this is…” Oh, but Jesus did know. He was the only one there who knew. He immediately saw past the reputation to the gold in her heart and announced to everyone there that she was one who “loved much” and declared her forgiven and at peace.

I want to do that.
I want to recognize the treasure that is easily overlooked and call it to the surface.
After all, God saw the treasure in me.

The "treasures" my six-year-old recently found because he so patiently sifted through piles of gravel and sand the others left behind at a sluice box.

My six-year-old son is a gold digger, and a treasure hunter in every sense. He loves to draw “treasure maps”, hunt for rocks, and find the gold in those “irregular people” many of us just struggle with.

He and I like to hunt for rocks together – we have done this since he took his first steps. One day a couple years ago, he excitedly handed me a rock as we walked the beach. I took the rock, surprised he’d even noticed it. It looked very plain to me – uninteresting. There was no special color or shape to it that I could discern, but he insisted we keep it, so into the bucket it went. When we got home, we began to line up our finds on the porch railing. When I picked up his rock that had so failed to impress me, I turned it over. On the other side, it was a perfect heart. I hadn’t noticed earlier because I hadn’t bothered to turn it over, hadn’t bothered to really look.

How often have I failed to look deeper, past the plain side, past the unattractive parts, to see the treasure in someone? It is there in every single human being - they were each one made in God's image, after all. If I can't see the value there, I'm just not looking hard enough.

I want to be a gold digger.
I want to see what God sees.

For the Lord sees not as a man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (from Samuel 16:7, Amplified Bible)

Ambushed by the God-who-saw-me-for-real,

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day Flowers

One afternoon last fall, my sons and I sat watching the wind blow some of the last of the seeds off a spent fireweed plant – a flower that was no longer what most of us would consider pretty. It had lost the vibrant pink color of its earlier summer days. The petals had dried up and fallen off. Its tall, upright fireweed shape was long gone. Instead, here was a slightly wilting, frizzy plant, about to launch the next generation on the wind.

Kind of like a mother.

She spends her years getting the next generation ready to launch into the destiny that God has written. He whispers it to her and she holds  it in her heart and in her hands.

Along the way, she eventually loses some petals, colors fade. She might not stand so straight anymore. But there is unsurpassed beauty in her on the days when the winds pick up and she celebrates the flight of her child.

Here comes the wind!
There go the seeds!

"...her children stand and bless her..." (from Proverbs 31)

Happy Mother's Day to the mothers - those who are raising children, those who've launched their children, those whose children live in Heaven, and those who've loved the children of others. May you be Ambushed by God on a windy day and see the seedlings take flight!