Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Extract the Valuable

Take away the dross from the silver, 
and the smith has material for a vessel…
(Proverbs 25:4, ESV).

As I read verses 4 and 5 of the 25th chapter of Proverbs, I recalled fun times when James and I panned for gems while on vacation in various states. After purchasing a 5-gallon bucket of “seeded” dirt from the owner of the gem mining tourist attraction, we'd sit on a bench beside a wooden trough filled with running water, into which each of us dipped a wooden box with a mesh bottom. Using that open-top box like a sifter, we’d dump a big scoop of dirt and gems into it. Carefully, we'd let the water rinse away the dirt that clung to the precious stones so that we could see if anything of value remained in the mesh container. We, along with other tourists seated on the long bench, exclaimed with delight when we'd see a tiny sliver or a small chunk (none were larger than half of a pecan) of emerald or garnet or quartz or ….

After we'd emptied our bucket, we'd head toward the office/gift shop, each of us carrying a small plastic container that held our collection of gems and minerals. There we'd learn the names of our stones and the value of our collection.

Although we weren’t removing dross from silver, as mentioned in Proverbs 25:4, we had been removing dirt and debris to reveal the gems and minerals. Likewise, in all of life, we must extract the precious from the worthless. Though the extraction process can be difficult and sometimes painful, we must be willing to let go of everything that isn’t good for us--and everything that doesn’t honor God.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Advice for Graduates

This is the time of year when words of wisdom are being shared with graduates during one-on-one conversations or in ceremonies or on cards sent to the graduates. Out of all the excellent advice that can be gathered from printed and online sources, as well as from life experiences of others, here’s one of the best pieces for the graduates--and everyone else:

My son, fear the LORD and the King, 
and do not join with those who do otherwise. 
Proverbs 24:21, ESV