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“A Gold Mine of Opportunity!” Genesis 41: 1-14 Key verse(s): 14: “So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.”


There once was an old Dutch farmer who owned a farm in a semi-arid part of South Africa which had, over the years, gone from semi-arid to arid. Even though his crop was wheat which required little moisture to grow and his few livestock did not require much in the way of feed and forage, as the land grew more and more arid, it was not long before the wheat that he did plant was stunted and fruitless while his livestock, bereft of adequate pasture, had to be sold. He loved the land. It had been his father’s and that of his father before him. Yet, he slowly became convinced that his was the last farm on the land. He would have sell and move on. It would not be an easy thing to do since the land was no longer fit for farming or even grazing. Who would buy it? Day after day he rode his horse out to a ridge in the center of his land, the highest point on his property. From this vantage point he could see his entire ranch, the abandoned fields and the dusty roads leading to and from his ramshackle barns. In the distance he could hear the mournful lowing of the few cattle he had left. It was his custom to ride out to this point, a rocky granite outcropping in the middle of nowhere, dismount and sit. As he sat he cried.


One day a man drove up from the city. He had seen the ad in the paper for 400 acres of land for sale. The price was right, only $25,000. That came to less than $70 an acre. He seemed all too happy to make the farmer an offer and the farmer was all too happy to accept the money for land that had little or no value to it as it was. Several weeks later, after the farmer had moved family and goods, the new owner came back to the land. But, this time he did not come alone. He brought with him a geologist and a small mining crew. Less than a month later news had quickly spread that a great discovery had taken place on an old farmstead near Durban, South Africa. One of the richest gold mines in Africa had been discovered on a rocky outcropping in the middle of an arid plain. The spot marking the site of the first test core drilling was exactly the same spot that the old farmer used to used as his place to sit, cry and mourn the uselessness and sterility of the land.


This true story illustrates tragically how close we often find ourselves to new opportunities when in the depths of sorrow and despair. Life can be pretty brutal sometimes and it is easy to fall prey to succumb to our own fears and inadequacies when things just don’t seem to pan out the way we had planned it. We put so much time into the planning, the planting, the cultivating and the nurturing of our best schemes and ideas. We ask for God’s blessings upon our labor and then trust that all things will come to pass and we will be favored to reap a rich harvest if only we work hard and “keep our nose clean.” That seems like a pretty good formula on the surface of it. Doesn’t the Bible tell us that idleness will bring sorrow and work will bring blessings?

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