the prospector

The Prospector

Roone AcreeBy Roone Acree5 Minutes

Sometimes you only find treasure when you’re stuck in the mud.

I wanted a souvenir. I discovered pure gold.

I was in the North Carolina mountains several years ago. Was on a short trip and decided to stop at an old general store to buy a gift for my wife. As I strolled inside, I headed over to the gifts and notions. For several bucks, you could get a two-for-one deal on some local honey and rhubarb jam, the sign read. My blood sugar keeps me from indulging very often, but since it was for my wife, and since it was a good deal…

That’s when I spotted the prospector. Not a cartoon version from Toy Story, but an actual, modern-day prospector. Pickaxe and everything. He was tall and thin—a wiry fellow with a gray beard who looked like he had just rolled off the hay wagon.

By the time I crossed the room, he was giving a panning demonstration to a group of kids. I could tell they were mesmerized. In his hands, he held a tin pan that he was dipping into a tub of water.

“Take your pan with your sand, like this. Shake, shake, shake. All the gold’s at the bottom, see. When you see black sand, stop. Let it settle. Don’t swirl it. When you see gold, you stop.”

It was fascinating to watch him. But after a moment, I remembered my purpose for being in the store and resumed what I was looking at. After several minutes, however, I heard the man say in a low, southern drawl, “Hey, young fella…ever tried pannin’?”

The prospector was looking right at me. Maybe he didn’t see that I had no kids with me, I thought. So I said as politely as possible, “I’m just looking for something for my wife.”

He held out the pan, and said, “Go ahead, give ‘er a try.”

I begrudgingly walked over to the table and rolled up my sleeves. Taking the pan, I dipped it down in the water and scooped up some rough, clumpy sand. “Now gentle like,” he said. “Let the water do the work. See them black clumps at the bottom? Let it settle, don’t swirl.”

I did what he said.

Suddenly, small flecks of gold began to appear in the pan, shimmering like fairy dust. It was an instantaneous wow. I was stunned. In the clusters of mud was something very precious and beautiful, although it took a good bit of shaking to reveal it. The result was spectacular.

I’ve since thought about that moment and why that old hayseed wanted me to have the experience. It was clear he knew there was something precious in the dirt and wanted me to know the feeling of discovering it myself.

I’ve come to believe our Heavenly Father has that same desire for us. He wants to bring out the treasure of His righteousness and grace in our lives.

He just knows it takes a whole lot of shaking of the grit and grime to do it.

I want to encourage you when you have a moment go to your Father in prayer. Surrender all that you have and are, so He can cleanse away any debris.

What you may think of as a pan full of old, clumpy dirt is actually something priceless. Let your Father sift the spiritual grime from your life, so He can reveal His goodness and mercy.

You may only be browsing through life, searching for trinkets and whatnots, but the Lord wants you to have something good and precious. Leave yesterday’s mess behind you. Set the promise of His goodness ahead of you.

Get ready to strike it rich, my friend.

You won’t find a greater treasure.