Originally scheduled for November 3
Many years ago a local amusement park in
Southern California offered — for an additional charge — the
experience of panning for gold, just like the 49ers did in the
nineteenth century. The experience is long since gone, the price of
gold having climbed so much as to put it out of reach. There was a
sluice with flowing water in which gold bearing sand had been
placed. You were given a gold pan — which resembled nothing so much
as a pie pan — and such assistance as might seem necessary depending
upon your age. The result was a small vial of gold flakes, less than
100th of an ounce. But it was gold, so you took it home
and put that vial in a safe place. Somewhere, in the clutter of this
house, there is a small vial with a microscopic amount of gold in
Have you ever wondered why gold has remained a
commodity of such great value over the years? We find it used as a
source of money and value in biblical times, and it continues to be
so to the present day. What’s so special about gold that he keeps
Gold does not corrode or decay with
time. This is a property almost unique among metals. So if you stash
it away today it will look the same a hundred years from now.
Curiously, gold’s value depends on
its rarity but also on its availability. It is rare enough to be
valuable, but common enough that it can be found in most areas.
One other valuable characteristic
gold is this: it is easily shaped into objects which meet the tastes
and needs of differing human beings.
I bring this to your attention because of its
parallels to the sacrificial atonement of Jesus Christ.
Like gold, the atonement is eternal.
Christ’s sacrifice was made once and is applicable to all of
mankind. Its value does not change as the years go by.
Gold is both rare and common.
Salvation has the same characteristics. It is rare because it can be
found in only one place — the atonement of Christ. There is no other
name by which we can be saved. But it is common, also: Christ died
for all. The entrance criterion is, “whosoever will.”
Just as gold is easily shaped to
individual needs, so it is that all types of sinners can be shaped
into saints. The power of repentance and being born again overwhelms
whatever particular sins you may have committed and turns you into a
child of God.
In communion we celebrate and remember these
things. His sacrifice is shown to us in the body and blood,
symbolized by the bread and wine. There is only one atonement, but
it is open to all for salvation. It does not matter what kind of
sinner you are; what matters is what a Savior he is.