Seeking Silver: “The Pilgrim & Prosperity”

Over the last several weeks a brother and I have been reading together Pilgrim’s Progress.  John Bunyan’s tale is an allegory of the trail and trials of the Christian sojourn.  This literary classic is an encouragement and a warning, it is both a refreshment and a reminder.   The book encourages those of us who, like Abram, have just left Ur (Genesis 12), or those of us, like Abraham, who have just scaled Moriah (Genesis 22).   Pilgrim’s Progress  warns new travelers and reminds aged ones of the joy of completing our journey and the many pitfalls we will meet along the way.  

One pitfall that has captured my attention is Silver Mine.  As the writer dreams, he sees that Christian and Hopeful, leaving the plain called ease, carefully ascend a little hill called Lucre.  It is there that Demas urges Christian and Hopeful to turn aside from the way and seek treasure in the Silver MineDemas seductively urges the two pilgrims to become prospectors by saying, “with a little paines (pains) you may richly provide for your selves.” 

Christian, realizing both the danger surrounding the mine and the duty constraining his spirit, exhorts Hopeful by saying, “I have heard of this place before now, and how many have their (Silver Mine) been slain; and besides that treasure is a snare to those that seek it, for it hindreth (hinders) them in their pilgrimage.” 

What a good reminder for us that seeking to provide for ourselves selfishly is the very thing that can, at best, be a stumbling block to our spiritual growth and, at worse, lead to our ruin (1 Timothy 5:9-10).  How sad it is also that many who claim to preach the Gospel sound more like Bunyan’s character, Demas than they do the Lord’s Anointed, Jesus.  

May we remember during this Christmas season that the Son of Man became poor that we through His poverty might become heavenly rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).  Jesus was not born in Bunyan’s Silver Mine, but in Bethlehem’s Manger.  The Bread of Heaven that was born in the House of Bread never  sought to provide for Himself (Matthew 4) , but trusted Himself to his Heavenly Father to meet all his needs. 

So too may we not seek the treasures of Silver Mine and fall victim to the voice of a Demas.

Ben

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