I noticed it while I was cleaning off our partner’s desk.

On Kevin’s side was, what for all intents and purposes, a chunk of rock. It was old looking, kind of the color of charcoal, save for the glints of gold sparkling from every crack and crevice. I smiled, picking it up, as he had run across it in a box of his childhood stuff from his mom’s. I didn’t realize he’d saved it, and I sat down, turning it over and over in the light.

I totally would’ve picked it up as a kid, knowing FOR SURE that I’d found real treasure. I probably would’ve combed the area of its discovery for more, a real gold strike, certainly, right in the middle of North Central Texas. I likely would’ve hidden it for good measure, and lay awake at night, dreaming of the grand house my family would surely live in, due to my good fortune. I probably would never have to go to school again, spending my days lolling about in the cement pond ala Beverly Hillbillies!

But then I would’ve been told, just as Kevin certainly was, that this was not real gold. That it was the stuff that threw miners of old off track, luring them away from the real thing and leaving them as fools with nothing but a bunch of shiny rocks and a lot of wasted time.

We are nothing if not a bunch of people easily thrown off track, amen? At the first glint of sparkle, we can drop everything and follow, absolutely certain that it’s for our great good fortune. THIS will be the thing that changes our life forever! THIS will be the thing that promises Easy Street! THIS RIGHT HERE is the TICKET!

Except it isn’t.

And we realize, empty-handed and foolish, that our yellow-brick road is just paint-covered brick. Pretty, yes, but a cheap imitation to streets paved of the real thing.

Let’s not let our heads be turned so easily. After all, all that glitters is not gold.


“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.”  Matthew 7:13-14 MSG