A Warning from the Big Horn Mine

I’ve never heard an abandoned building speak so eloquently.  I just hope I pay attention to it, and learn from it.

I had to move my Sabbath hike around this last weekend.  My Saturday plans were postponed when one of our summer mission teams missed a leg of the flight home, and I wanted to be in cell range if needed (they made it home on schedule, but we didn’t know that until Saturday afternoon).   So I carved out some time Monday morning, and set off on a short hike to an old mine near Wrightwood in the mountains above Los Angeles.  The scent of pine, the beautiful scenery and the cool breeze were refreshing, just what I enjoy most for my worship walks.  But an unexpected object lesson awaited me at the end of the trail.

In its heyday, the Big Horn Mine was a key producer of gold, silver and copper.  Up to 50 men worked its tunnels, extracting precious metals from the ground and providing a living for their families.  It was a productive operation.

Today, it sits abandoned.  There are bars across the mine shafts, and the outbuildings are falling apart, their decay accelerated by the harsh winters at 6000 feet.  The mine looks nothing like it did, it helps no one, and it produces nothing.  There is still gold in the mountain, but no one is trying to bring it out.

In that decaying building, I saw a picture of what my spiritual disciplines could become if I’m not careful.  I just finished a Bible reading plan started last Fall, in which I read the Bible in a year.  I’m approaching the anniversary of my first Sabbath hike, one year of weekly walks with God.  These two good habits have pulled a lot of spiritual gold out of the ground for me in these last 12 months, the most fruitful season of my life.

I don’t want that to stop.  I don’t want to look back on these days and say “Remember when I used to …?”  I want the fruitfulness to continue, the refreshment to grow.  I want these good habits to remain, and I want to discover new ones.

I don’t want the Big Horn Mine to be a picture of my spiritual life.

Do you have some good habits that are more a part of your past than your present?  Are your spiritual “good old days” behind you, or are you living them now?  Maybe the Big Horn Mine can spur you, like it has me, to a fresh commitment to whatever spiritual disciplines have been most productive for you.

There is still gold in the mountain.  Go get it.

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About Sabbath Thoughts

My name is Mike Gaston. I am a former missionary, a Shepherding Pastor at Heights Church in Prescott, AZ, a happy husband, a spoiled father of two daughters, a proud grandfather, and a recently-convinced pursuer of the benefits of intentional, regular, contemplative, Christ-centered rest. This blog will allow me to share thoughts about Sabbath, as well as thoughts about God and the Christian life that come out of my restful Sabbath moments.
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6 Responses to A Warning from the Big Horn Mine

  1. Randall O. says:

    Thanks Mike, i have a few of those “remember when I used to…” things in my life, that I am rekindling. I want to live each day fully in His glory and presence and yet it is so easy to get distracted away by work and play.

  2. debra petrella says:

    bless you for good reminders how we can allow distractions to erode our walk. Each moment I see the Lord giving Rich and I the jab into compliance, as we grumble about the day to day work routine. Through the last few days of the summer reading program it occurred to both of us that we were first in every form of lacking financial stewardship in our young years, now we will be last in the golden years. That being said the silver (Golden) lining, God is great and has given us strong backs and the promise of eternal life with Him,,,,,how could we ask for more..

  3. Richard Young says:

    Thanks Mike, I really appreciate the lesson here. My maternal grandfather was a gold miner, well-driller, inventor… up in Eastern Washington State. He struck gold once in his career, then had to live off well-drilling the rest of his life. After that one great experience with the gold he suffered from “gold fever” for the rest of his life, always wanted to strike it rich again. If you asked him what he did for a living, he always said he was a gold miner. I make the comparison in my life with 2 Corinthians 4:7, I have struck gold in Jesus and that has given me “gold fever” also. But I keep digging and I’m not going to turn to drilling wells when the gold is there to find and treasure. Keep up that love for the Scriptures and for our Lord!

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