Do You Have the Wrong Gold?

A photo of a small nugget of pyrite

Pyrite is a mineral of iron sulfide with a metallic appearance of pale yellow and brass. It is often found among other rocks and sulfides, such as slate, quartz, coal or limestone. Because of its resemblance to gold, it is occasionally mistaken for such and has therefore acquired the name “fool’s gold.” While pyrite has found many uses throughout history, from firearms to jewelry to modern electrical/electronic technology, it does not and never will have the immense value of real gold.

…there will always be individuals who prey on the ignorance of others by endeavoring to sell pyrite as real gold

If you took a cluster of pyrite to an assayer, or a highly experienced jeweler, or possibly a pawn shop, they would likely tell you that it is worthless to them. They may tell you that you couldn’t buy more than a can of soda for what it is worth. Some might mock you for your naivety or foolishness. This shows how insignificant the monetary value of this mineral is.

A black and white photographic portrait of Charles Ponzi standing against a brick wall holding a bar at waist level

But there will always be individuals who prey on the ignorance of others by endeavoring to sell pyrite as real gold. These con men come up with all kinds of elaborate schemes to swindle people into buying something for far less than it is worth. When the purchaser then takes possession of the item, and later attempts to resell it in anticipation of receiving an even larger sum of money, they will be terribly disappointed.

Rather than paying the price for “pure gold” from Christ, they seek out a cheaper substitute—one that appears to be of high quality, but, upon redemption, they find that they have the wrong gold!

Yet this deception isn’t limited to just material goods. Many Christians throughout the world are attempting to advance in God’s kingdom cheaply through inferior means, while all the time, they declare that they are wholesome and rich. Rather than paying the price for “pure gold” from Christ, they seek out a cheaper substitute—one that appears to be of high quality, but, upon redemption, they find that they have the wrong gold! They are often quick to call others foolish for their efforts to get the real thing, when all along, they themselves parade about with their collection of fool’s gold!

A large round table set with elegant glassware, fine china, and a colorful floral centerpiece in a covered outdoor dining area with outdoor furniture in the background

Why does all of this matter? As long as we are living comfortably in this world, not lacking anything, then the means by which we arrive at this state should not concern us. Since God hasn’t stopped us or struck us dead for this lifestyle, we must be in good standing with Him—right? That is not the way Jesus sees it. He said, “…thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). It is not what or how much we possess here in this physical life that He desires. What He wants is purity in our heart, which only comes from Him.

…we, as children of God, cannot allow materialistic prosperity to be the indicator or replacement for a pure and holy relationship with Him.

Look at what He says in the next verse: “I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich…” (Revelation 3:18). This does not simply refer to a nugget of gold dug out of the earth. Purity comes only when the base metal is heated to a very high temperature in a crucible or such. After a certain length of time, the precious metal melts, and all the impurities, or dross, rise to the surface and are skimmed off.

Therefore, we, as children of God, cannot allow materialistic prosperity to be the indicator or replacement for a pure and holy relationship with Him. When we boast of being rich and well-off, having need of nothing else, we have stocked up with the wrong gold. The finest piece of pyrite will never match the qualities of the purest gold. Jesus urges us to “…buy of Me gold tried in the fire” which denotes purity in the fullest sense.

Etching by Jean Duplessi-Bert of an old man in ragged clothing

When we put the things of this life ahead of God, we are covering ourselves with what is worthless. All this effort means nothing to Him. The gold and raiment of this world is nothing like what He desires to clothe us with. His gold and raiment does not contain the sinfulness that keeps us from His presence.

Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21

Where is our heart today? Are we buying fool’s gold and trying to make everyone, including God, believe that it is the real thing? God is not fooled; He sees through it all—right down to our soul. Instead of spending our whole life striving to get the wrong gold, turn to Jesus and buy the real thing from Him instead.

[Image credits: Featured image (when available) George Gergovacz/pixabay; PaulaPaulson/pixabay; Public domain portrait of C. Ponzi (1920); Lisa Larsen/pixabay; Jean Duplessi-Bert/Wellcome Collection CC BY 4.0]