Dirty Truth

Stephan Tchividjian, CEO and Co-Founder, National Christian Foundation South Florida

There is a favorite pastime (for some) that you can indulge in while visiting the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The signs beckon you to pull over and take your chance. The family can be heard screaming in unison, “pull over, pull over, pull over” as the pressure mounts. You may think I am speaking of the obligatory Cracker Barrel stop, nope! Boiled peanuts? A western souvenir store featuring “Coonskin hats (short for racoon) worn by the famous Daniel Boone? The random “theme” park? Hardee’s? Could it really be that I am referring to the famous Billy Graham Library, featuring Bessie-the-Cow (kin to our “eat mor chikin” cow)? Nope, I am referring to all famous gold, ruby and sapphire mining establishments with their lore in history. The one place where, with some effort, you too can find valuable jewels found “in them darn hills,” by going back in time and panning for these well-hidden gems.


truthHidden gems

I remember once taking one of my treasure-hunting daughters with expectations so high that I sensed danger of disappointment lurking once the “panning” wore off. We chose the location that appeared to offer the most adventure and promise of found wealth, something about “grandpa used to say,” while sitting in a Cadillac. Hey. if it’s good enough for grandpa (with happy grandma), its good enough for us. We purchased some buckets of dirt and took our tin pans shaped as saucers to the wooden trough, where a redirected stream was awaiting us.

The instructions were clear. We were asked to take small handfuls of dirt from the buckets, place them in the tin pans and begin to gently immerse them into the stream of water, carefully looking for the glimmer of a gold nugget, the red of a ruby rock or the blue/green tint of a sapphire gem. I realized quickly (fast learner that I am) that the expected treasure was not going to be found readily, at least not at the size and quantity we were led to believe. My solution was brilliant. I excused myself and quietly made my way to the gift shop where I found a whole bag (for a wad of cash) of polished “post sifted” gems. I then took those gems and when my child was not looking, inserted them into the bucket of dirt that I had paid for (more cash). BTW, I now have a better understanding of what “grandpa used to say.” You can only imagine the delight my child received when she quickly realized that she had found treasure and a lot of it, at that.


truthI wonder if that is the way I am with God’s truths. Many today will find themselves in heated arguments around what is truth. Many others simply choose not to argue and sigh with a sense of desperation and hopelessness. Sometimes I can be so convinced that my truth is correct that I, obnoxiously, dismiss the curious journey of another in search of a truth.

Consider truth a treasure. I often must dig into a bucket of dirt and patiently sift through it, looking for that glimmer, that shine, that distinction that stands out as truth. I must be curious, humble and teachable as I define what I am looking for. Sometimes I will find something that looks like truth but with closer inspection realize I am wrong; it’s something disguised as truth but worthless. I can get frustrated because as I am desperately looking and finding nothing, I may entertain the idea that truth doesn’t exist. It always does; the evidence is everywhere, remember, I am sitting at a gem mine. The kindness of God will sometimes bury a truth or two in such a way that I will easily find it. He doesn’t want me to be too discouraged and give up.


truthBuried Treasure

Perhaps the DIG – DISCOVER – DISPLAY illustration may help you. Imagine for a minute that I shared with you that a 30-caret rough diamond (worth several million dollars) was buried in your back yard. Your curiosity and priorities were immediately pricked, and you were now on a mission to find that diamond. A few things to consider. First, you must dig for that diamond that is buried somewhere in your back yard. Digging is laborious, frustrating, dirty, blister causing and time consuming. Digging is not easy. Second, you must know what you are looking for. Learning to discover what I am looking for will avoid a significant mistake or misunderstanding. What does a 30-caret rough diamond look like? I may mistake it for a rock, a hardened root, or some buried rubbish and never find it. Lastly, once I find that elusive diamond, what do I plan to do with it? I can choose to bury it again, toss it, treat it as a novelty or better yet, display it for all to see and enjoy.

The Shiny Truth

truthI think truth is often buried in a bucket of dirt or my backyard. I will sometimes look for shortcuts to find truth. I will find myself thinking that my truth is unique, that my perspectives of that truth are well informed, accurate and superior to those around me. I am guilty of spiritual pride, of not listening or learning and looking for the quick answer. However, the antidote to this toxic way of thinking is to always consider the behavior, responses and approach of Jesus, whom I follow as the epitome of Truth. For example, His Truth of displaying the heart and character of God was/is found in His deep love towards the unlovable, the vile, the discarded, the tormentor, the oppressor, the deceiver, thief and the enemy. His Truth was so solid that He changed those around Him without ever worrying that they would change Him.

Sometimes in my effort to find truth and display it, I miss the whole opportunity to tell the story of how I found treasure in a bucket of dirt and better yet, who told me where to look. I can be guilty of treating those around me like their truth is no treasure at all, dismissing the opportunity to ever share with them mine. Therefore, in times of uncertainty (nothing new), deception (nothing new), fear (nothing new) and distrust (nothing new), I am compelled to draw much closer to Jesus’ way of walking and living. I am drawn to watch Him carefully and mimic His approach. I think we would be very surprised at Jesus today, some of us may be disappointed and others relieved, but in the end all changed. His Truth can be found and is always a Treasure.


Stephan N. Tchividjian is the CEO and co-founder of the National Christian Foundation South Florida. Visit southflorida.ncfgiving.com to learn more.

Read more articles by Stephan Tchividjian at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/author/stephan-tchividjian/


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