Imagine his predicament when Sir Martin Frobisher ascertained that all his efforts, time, and resources were invested in useless fool’s gold. Instead of the much sought after fortune of gold, he had brought home the comparable mineral, pyrite, which was eventually used as gravel to pave the English roadways. He was so certain of how precious his cargo was that he procured several investments to fund his expedition and even the queen tried to secure her slice of the pie through the Royal Treasuries. It is quite easy to become distracted by fool’s gold. After all, it sparkles like the real thing.
The quest for gold
Too often man becomes enchanted by talent, skills, appearance, and the popularly glorified wealth, not realizing that these possessions are of temporal value. We take great pride in our wisdom as we laud our progress from the theory of evolution to the brilliance exuded in the design of quantum computers. We slavishly pursue earthly treasures sacrificing our families, morals, and freedom. We take great pleasure in our natural abilities or honed skills to the point of being revered by common man.
Humanity is much like Sir Martin who didn’t know how to distinguish between pyrite and gold. So desperate to fill the void inside, we glory in the creation instead of the Creator, not comprehending that our image, abilities, and wisdom are a mere reflection of our Glorious Creator. Evidence of this can be seen when God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis chapter 1, verse 26) This has been the dilemma of man ever since the fall in Eden. He has been deceived to invest the fool’s gold of a reflection, a likeness, a trace element of the glory of Almighty God.
The tests for gold
There are several tests which can be administered to distinguish between real gold and fool’s gold. First of all, pyrite will eventually corrode over time whereas gold is incorruptible. Acid is used in this test as its reaction with the pyrite leaves a foul sulfur odor while its color changes to black. The gold, however, is not affected by the acid. Similarly, our human strength, abilities, and physical body deteriorate over the years leading to the inevitable stench of death. Glory in such possessions is therefore an investment in fool’s gold as the body is corruptible and susceptible to the natural elements of earth.
Secondly, a streak test can be executed to determine the color of the ‘ore’ when grounded to powder. Gold will give a yellow streak. On the other hand, pyrite will give a greenish black color. The color of pyrite reminds us of the sinfulness of humanity and sin’s effect on the world in general. It reminds us that we have been separated from the true source of light which has left us in obscurity. The golden yellow color is symbolic of the eternal life which is gifted to those who have known the Father through Jesus Christ. “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John chapter 8, verse 12)
Thirdly, when struck by a hammer, pyrite will break into pieces. Gold, in contrast, will only transform its shape as it bends or flattens out. In comparison, health and wealth can easily crumble from challenges experienced in life, as a result, taking great pride in such things is another investment in fool’s gold. When we glory in our Creator, “Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans chapter 8, verse 39)
Gold worth finding
“Thus says the Lord: let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches: But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these I delight, says the Lord.” (Jeremiah chapter 9, verses 23 – 24)
This is the true indicator that one has struck genuine gold in life. When we take great pride in the knowledge and understanding of the luminescent Creator, He directs our lives and transforms us into His likeness. Jesus came to illuminate our ignorance so that we will no longer be investors in the darkness that measures our worth based on our earthly possessions or determines our destination by our appearance or abilities.
Fool’s gold is not necessarily without a purpose. Oftentimes, it has been used as a compass to navigate explorers towards finding gold as it is usually found near the real treasure. We miss the mark when we settle with pyrite. Our wisdom, gifts, possessions and beloved world are all indications of where the glory belongs. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” (Romans chapter 1, verse 20) Sir Martin did not know how to differentiate between the fool’s gold and the real. We on the other hand, are given the treasure map in the word of God to pursue that which is incorruptible, imperishable, and has a far more exceeding weight of glory.
Kerry-Ann is a wife, mother, and retired High School Mathematics teacher who loves to write Christian meditations and lead the youth in Bible study. She is a passionate worship leader and a youth ministry coordinator at her church. Currently, she is a member of the Christian Game Development Conference pursuing her vision of creating industry standard Christian entertainment.