GOLD - a precious metal, the crown of the material world representing value, and permanence.The price of gold has been rising inexorably as investors see it as a safe haven in uncertain times.
This morning I had the great pleasure of celebrating the Golden Wedding of friends from Stubbings. By the time you read this, I will have returned from the golden sunshine (I hope!) of Madeira and we will be into 'golden October’. Next year top athletes will be competing for gold medals.
Only the best
Gold seems to sum up the good things of life: the best, the most valuable, the greatest. The Bible too uses gold as a symbol of great value and when, right at the end of the Bible, St John sees God's new creation he describes the city as 'pure gold, clear as glass'.
So when the psalmist describes the Word of the Lord as 'more to be desired than gold, even much fine gold', he is saying no small thing. King Solomon makes no small claim when he says: 'How much better to get wisdom than gold'. Valuable as gold may be, there are things that are more important.
In the book of Acts, (an account of the very earliest church), St Peter, approached by a lame beggar hoping for some money, says:'I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk!' (Acts3:6) And the lame beggar did just that!
But over the years priorities changed. Thomas Aquinas, surnamed 'the angelical doctor', who was highly esteemed by Pope Innocent IV, went one day into the Pope's chamber where they were reckoning large sums of money.
The Pope, addressing himself to Aquinas, said: 'You see that the Church is no longer in an age in which she can say, "silver and gold have I none" ‘ ‘ It is true, Holy Father’, replied Aquinas, 'but nor can he now say to the lame man "Rise up and walk!" '
What value, what priority, do we put on spiritual things, I wonder, and how does that compare with the time and value we put on material prosperity? In the end it is the spiritual that is more important and of more lasting value.
Treasures in Heaven
Three things will last for ever, faith, hope and love; gold, for all its qualities, does not have the same continuing value. In his famous Sermon on the Mount Jesus says: 'Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.' We will do well to follow Jesus' advice.