Eureka! The gold rush is on … again!
It's been nearly 170 years since half a million miners from around the world brought their picks and shovels to Sutter's Mill in pre-statehood California. It was the country's biggest news in 1849, headlined on every newspaper's front page, and even announced by President James Polk in an address to congress. And, over the next six years, another half-million miners joined the digging frenzy.
The mother-lode, bless her glistening heart, had given birth to gold, lots and lots of gold.
Fast forward to 2018—the prosperous mother-lode has a sister. But, instead of a pick and shovel to retrieve your fortune, you'll need a petri dish, and instead of a pack mule, get scuba gear.
But, I digress.
Just recently, scientists discovered a world of unusual microscopic organisms known as extremophiles which serve as nature's recycling centers. These tiny, living creatures literally breathe-in dissolved metallic waste in the same way we take in oxygen. It's their required sustenance, their daily bread, their breath of fresh air.
But even more astounding, when these organisms exhale, the once-worthless metallic matter comes out in its original solid form. In effect, the dissolved minerals are recreated into their original state. By breathing in and out, the extremophiles turn useless matter into useable material, as though it had been reborn.
As technology increased, enterprising scientists-turned-prospectors used this same procedure on the world's most valuable mineral … gold.
Deep in the ocean's underwater canyons which house nature's hydrothermal vents—an environment known for spewing dissolved metals from the earth's hot core—are miles of deposits of dissolved gold.
And sure 'nuff, when the extremophiles are introduced, the microbes rapidly convert the useless, dissolved gold into a solid and valuable metallic form. Now, the amount of gold retrieved from this process is small, to be sure. But, make no mistake about it; it's gold—real, genuine, bonanza building, cash-cow producing, Fort Knox worthy, goose-that-laid-the-golden-egg gold.
What once was ruined and abandoned by the white hot pressure of this world has been made whole again.
Sounds ominously familiar doesn't it? It's what God—through your ministry—does every week.
Radically reforming His fallen creation is God's specialty; giving new life to His people is His trademark. Throughout time, God's countless reclamation projects underscore this phenomenon loud and clear:
- Zaccheus had become a money grubbing cheat among his own people. But one dinner with Jesus transformed Zaccheus into a new man.
- Mary Magdalene, a temple of demonic insanity, had her curse cast aside by the miraculous power of Jesus, transforming Mary into new creation.
- Nicodemus had devoted his life to the strict adherence of the Law, and found himself bound by it. But, one visit with Jesus rewrote his life’s story.
- A dejected Samaritan woman, suffering from shame and guilt, had an impromptu conversation with Jesus and it turned her into an evangelist.
- Saul, who’d tormented the Church and “was furiously enraged at them,” had a one-on-one meeting with the Savior and became Christianity’s leading apologist.
The story is always the same—what the world corrupts, God can fix. "But God… even when we were dead…made us alive."
What makes this promise so mindboggling is that this golden transformation isn't ours to achieve, as some unreachable mountain peak. On the contrary, "He saved us, not on the basis of our deeds, but according to His mercy."
Extremophiles are just one more way in which God's physical creation points to His amazing love. He uses the smallest of micro-organisms as living examples of His transforming power. And, equally amazing, He's chosen us to tell this story—the truth of His redemptive power.
No wonder people set their alarm clocks on Sunday morning. They don't want to miss hearing about this unmerited free gift.
We've got a message that's diametrically opposed to the world's message—our God can transform sinners into pure gold!