A man was raised in a country not far from us whose family had a gold mine. In fact everyone in his family owned a gold mine; his parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts and cousins, as far back as anyone could remember the family had all owned gold mines. Obviously the wealth shared among the family members was great and no one wanted for anything.
Like most families they invested themselves in their children and provided the very best of everything for each child. When a child became of age he was given instruction in how to find his own gold mine; where to look, how to read the rock formations, how to test the soil and how to dig.
Of course, having been raised around gold mines all of his life, the child was expected to already know what gold was and what it looked like and how to use the tools needed for mining the gold. And so it had been done for the man in our story.
At the proper time his parents had given him the traditional family instructions and he had successfully found his own gold mine from which he was able to provide all his needs. He was very happy with his gold mine and, living a contented life, took it for granted that everyone who wanted a gold mine, had one.
One day he met a man who looked ragged and worn. He had heard of people like this, who allowed themselves to be poor because they did not want to mine gold. The man asked, "Why do you live this way? Go find yourself a gold mine and learn to live right!"
The man who was ragged and worn said, "What is gold?"
"What is gold!" the man exclaimed. "Everyone knows what gold is!"
The man who was ragged and worn said, "No, I have heard about it but I've never seen it. I have friends who claim to have some, but they have never shared it with me."
The man was astonished. "Didn't your parents give you instruction in how to find your gold mine?"
"My parents didn't know what gold was either," said the ragged and worn man.
The man was by this time confused and perplexed. All of his upbringing had been based on the assumption that everyone who wanted one, had a gold mine. No one had ever explained that some people needed to be shown what gold was! So the man decided to help this poor fellow out. But that turned out to be more difficult than he expected.
After giving him the instruction book and telling him where to look, how to read rock formations, how to test the soil and how to dig, the ragged and worn man said, "That sounds good, but how will I know when I have found gold?"
The man said, "Because you will see it, of course!" feeling rather impatient at such an obvious question.
"But what does it look like?" said the ragged man.
"Like this," said the man, taking a beautiful shining ingot from his pocket.
Tears filled the already sad eyes of the man who was ragged and worn as he said, "I've looked so long for that, I can't wait to find some of my own!"
So the ragged and worn man went off with the instruction book and excitedly searched for his gold mine. This made the man feel warm inside and very proud of what he had done.
Weeks later the man came across the ragged and worn man sitting on the roadside, more ragged and worn than before, and now bitter. The man was startled to see this and asked, "What is wrong, why did you not find you a gold mine?"
"I don't believe in gold any more! I did as you said and found nothing!" said the worn and bitter man.
Obviously something was very wrong! "Take me with you and show me where you dug," said the man.
When they arrived at the place where he had been digging it was obvious that he had not dug much, but what he had was piled in a heap, and was high grade gold ore! The man said, "What do you mean you found nothing? Look at all of this gold ore!"
"But that doesn't look anything like what you showed me!" said the ragged and worn man.
"Yes, but what I showed you has been refined; this that you've dug is what it all looks like to begin with. Then it must be refined and molded for our good," said the man.
"Oh!" said the ragged and worn man, "I did not know that."
Finally realizing what needed to be done, the man said, "Here, let's dig together."
As they began to dig it became painfully obvious why the ragged and worn man had not dug much during all those weeks. He wasn't using the tools correctly. After a short lesson, the ragged and worn man began to do some real digging.
The two of them worked side by side for days and weeks, digging, refining and exchanging the gold for the things the ragged and worn man needed. Until one day on the road to town they came across a man who turned out to be a cousin of the man who had been ragged and worn.
"I didn't recognize you cousin," said the man on the road. "You've changed so!"
"Yes," said the man beaming with joy, "I've found my gold mine!"
"Gold mine?" said the cousin, "What is gold?"
In the old days, as today, some prospectors never let on as to what hidden treasure they had found, but others came riding excitedly into town exclaiming, "There's gold in them thar hills!"
But only a few have ever been willing to show someone else how to find it.

Matthew 13:44-46

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