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By David Bachelor, PhD
Since the Perseid meteor shower started on July 17th, people have been looking up at the night sky. If the headlines are any indication, it might be more profitable for folks to be looking down.
On Saturday a meteor was seen streaking across Utah. NBC affiliate KSLTV in Salt Lake City had headline “After Loud Boom Across Utah, Here’s Why You Should Check Your Yard For Treasure.” Pieces of the meteor are believed to have landed in the Beehive State. A Utah astronomer who is the state’s volunteer NASA ambassador said, “Some of them are more expensive than gold.” Since it can be hard to tell a meteorite from common rock, the astronomer suggested people search where rocks are not expected to be found, like car windshields and on roofs. Out in a field a person might walk by a meteorite worth $50,000 and never know it.
Three people in England were looking down this week but it was not for meteorites. On Friday, a headline in the Mirror read, “Treasure Hunters Find Hoard of Anglo-Saxon Coins Worth Tens of Thousands of Pounds.” The treasure hunters were at a metal detecting event when they discovered 25 coins worth at least $30,000.00. All the coins had the image of King Burgred of Mercia (circa 850 AD). According to the article, “It is thought the field where the coins were found was the site of an early medieval settlement.”
In Delaware the treasure was not in a field, but in a soup bowl. The Saturday edition of USAToday had the headline, “Surprise! Man Discovers Rare Purple Pearl In $14 Clam Appetizer at Delaware Restaurant.” The customer thought he had a piece of shell in his mouth, but it turned out to be a pearl. Finding a pearl surprised the customer because he was eating clams, not oysters. The company that sold the clam to the restaurant verified that clam-pearls are not unknown, “We’ve had some guys that have worked for the company a long time, over 20 years, that have two or three (pearls).” While the customer wants to know what his pearl is worth, he may not sell it because, “It’s a fun story and a fun memory.”
Jesus told a story about a man who found a valuable pearl. Jesus said, “The Kingdom of heaven is like this: A man was looking for fine pearls. He found one that was exceptionally valuable. So, the man went and sold everything he had, and bought that pearl” (Matt 13:45-46). Jesus’ pearl parable was part of a series of lessons about what was truly valuable in life. And this week, when fortunes can be made from ancient coins and pieces of meteorites a few hours old, Jesus’ wisdom on treasure is particularly applicable. Jesus said, “Every teacher of the Bible who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like a homeowner who brings out of his safe new treasures as well as old” (Matt 13:52).