August 26, 2012
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith -- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire -- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7
Every once in a while I come across a church member who talks about the serendipitous moment they were saved. I am amazed that, even though they have been members of a church for years, they often are referring to a relatively recent event.
They remind me of John Reed, who lived in North Carolina, during the early 1800s.
According to the story, one day Reed’s son came home with a wedge-shaped golden rock. Reed couldn't identify the rock, so for years he used it as a doorstop. In 1802 he sold the 17- pound nugget of gold to a jeweler in Fayetteville for the princely sum of $3.50.
Only afterward did John Reed discover the value of his doorstop. And, in case you're wondering, he did get another $1,000 from the jeweler, and he found many more nuggets of gold on his land. He died a relatively wealthy man.
So, let me ask, when did John Reed have his moment of serendipity? Was it when his son brought home a large lump of gold, or was it when he discovered the real value of that gold?
When asked that question, many people cast their vote for the day Reed realized what he had. Me -- I'm inclined to say his revelation would have been meaningless, if he hadn't already been in possession of that gold nugget. For that reason my answer would be that both days were important.
I would say the same is true in regard to faith.
The day the Lord brought us into His family of faith through the means of grace was a serendipitous event. We who had been lost and condemned were -- by faith in Jesus’ blood -- redeemed and rescued.
Similarly, the day we were brought to a realization of how great a gift God had given to us in the Person of His Son and the salvation we had received … well, that was a serendipitous event, too.
It's a concept the apostle Peter understood. He knew that gold was a great thing, but it is a transient thing.
On the other hand, the faith we have been given in the risen Redeemer ought to lead us to a life of ongoing praise and ever-increasing thanksgiving to the Savior who has made our salvation a reality.
After all, He has given us a gift greater than a big doorstop made of gold.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, keep me ever mindful and grateful for Your undeserved blessings. Let me acknowledge that You created my faith; You make it grow, and You keep me in it. Truly, all I have comes from Your gracious hands. This I ask in my Savior’s Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries