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.