There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills!
Twain’s books Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn captured my imagination during the hot summers of growing up in Middletown, Delaware. Though I haven’t read them in years it doesn’t take long to pull back the memory of Tom Sawyer’s fake funeral or the exciting adventures of Tom and Huck along the Mississippi River. Mark Twain introduced readers to another character, Colonel Mulberry Sellers who is known for his declaration, “There’s gold in them thar hills!”
Some think that California gold rush miners inspired Mark Twain with this character when they told him about Dr. M. F. Stephenson, a geology and mineral expert who served as an assayer in Georgia in the 1840s. While many thought the Georgia gold rush had run its course and California was the land where gold was just waiting to be picked up off the ground, Stephenson strongly disagreed, exclaiming, “Why go to California? In that ridge lies more gold than man ever dreamt of. There’s millions in it.”
Mark Twain’s creative juices transformed Stephenson’s statement into: “There’s gold in them thar hills” and “there’s millions in it.”
I don’t know if Stephenson was correct, thousands of miners ignored him and rushed to California to find their millions.
How many of us are like those miners? Similar to Stephenson exhorting the miners to realize the gold they were seeking was right in front of them, Paul exhorts us to recognize that there are riches in the word of Christ.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16 ESV
Stephenson might have been wrong, but God’s Word is truth. When we’re tempted to look in other places for wisdom, peace, equipping for life’s challenges, Paul reminds us that we need to choose to allow the Word to “take up residence” in our hearts (dwell richly). Taking up residence is more than simply living in a house. We make a mistake when we cross reading the Bible off of our to do list, without taking the time to think through the message and how it can transform our thoughts and actions. When the Word of Christ takes up residence, lives within us, His wisdom teaches us how to encourage one another, how to respond to the hard places in life with songs of praise and thankfulness in our hearts.
“There’s gold in them thar pages! Millions of riches to be experienced.” Choose to get to know riches of the Christ who lives in your heart. Dig deep into His Word. Ask Him to open your heart to His teaching and admonishment with the goal of being equipped to offer others life giving encouragement, flowing from Him to others.
Do you need a little help in getting your day started with a search for those riches? Subscribe to Daily Treasure and you’ll receive a devotional every day, designed to help turn your heart toward Jesus. On November 19th, we’re starting with a Journey to Christmas with the Midwives of the Messiah. Subscribe to Daily Treasure at markinc.org and in your first devotional you’ll receive a link to a free download of Chuck’s book, Harlots and Heroines, The Midwives of the Messiah.
Let’s search together for the riches of the word of Christ, believing that “there’s gold in them thar pages!”
Treasured by Him,