Jay Allen

Why Christians Should Be “Gold-Diggers”

By October 28, 2021 No Comments

Have you ever played a game called “punch-buggy”? If you have, you’re familiar with the fact that it’s a painful game that you play in the car during a long road trip. The object of the game is to find as many Volkswagen Bugs (Beetle) during the drive and if you find one, you get to punch the person next to you in the arm. I got punched a lot and let’s just say that my friends/siblings and I had some fun times when it came to playing this game. However, something always fascinated me as I thought more and more about it.

Why were there so many Volkswagen Bugs (Beetles) on the road while we were playing the game? Whenever we weren’t playing the game, I never noticed this many of the same car before. So, I decided to finally do some research and let’s just say what I found was fascinating. It involves a cool psychological complex called the “Baader-Meinhof” phenomenon and this is how it’s defined:

“This phenomenon occurs when the thing you’ve just noticed, experienced, or been told about suddenly crops up constantly. It gives you the feeling that out of nowhere, pretty much everyone and their cousin are talking about the subject — or that it is swiftly surrounding you.”

As I think about this tendency to notice more of what we feed our minds, I’m reminded of this passage that the Apostle Paul wrote to the church of Philippi:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:8-9

What is a Christian “Gold-Digger”?

What we focus on determines our destination or in the words of Lysa Terkeurst, “you steer where you stare.” Can you imagine someone trying to go somewhere as they look the other direction? Of course, you don’t have to spend more than 5 minutes on any social media platform to know where people are directing their attention these days. We’ve trained our minds to focus on the things we disagree with people about rather than what we do agree on. We focus on finding dirt on people rather than finding the good things about them.

Pastor Scott Sauls describes it better than I ever could:

“What if instead of being on the hunt to catch people doing wrong, we went on the hunt to catch people doing right? What if instead of looking for someone to curse, we started looking for someone to bless? What if instead of naming people according to their worst behaviors and features, we named them according to their best and most God-reflecting ones?”

Therefore, I’m making the claim today that Christians need to be ‘gold-diggers’. If you’re familiar like most people with the term ‘gold-digger’, you’re probably reading this, and you think that I’m nuts. Of course, our understanding of this is defined as a person who engages in a relationship with somebody for the sole purpose of benefitting from their wealth or prestige. Naturally, as we look at what a believer in Christ should look like, that’s not what I’m suggesting at all.

What I am suggesting is that we see the best in people because I firmly believe that seeing the best in people is a biblical trait we should all strive for. (1 Corinthians 13:7) It’s not the same as being naïve to people’s propensity to sin or their vulnerability to moral failure. It’s an active choice to see somebody in the best possible light and to filter your perspective of them based on their most praise-worthy qualities. Maybe you call it giving the benefit of the doubt or maybe you call it what I do: Christian “gold-digging”.

This mindset is likely not our default as it seems that it’s better and easier to formulate opinions based on what we know (or what we think we know) rather than considering all that we don’t. If Christians can’t get the command to love our neighbor or even more, to love our enemies correctly, what gives us the right to think that the world should take us seriously if we don’t even take God’s Word seriously?

One of the best examples that I see of loving your enemy plays out is David’s journey with King Saul in the books of 1 & 2 Samuel where he rises through the ranks of King Saul’s army only to be chased down by the very man he was working for. Because David was garnering so much appreciation and glory due to his success as a general in the army, Saul began to worry that David would take his role and overthrow him. This leads a jealous and fearful King Saul to go after him and send soldiers to hunt him down.

However, even despite various opportunities to kill Saul, David never took advantage of those situations and trusted that God would take care of it by raising up another king. What’s even more surprising is that when King Saul eventually died, in a gruesome manner mind you, David still lamented his death. Despite being chased down and facing immense anxiety about his life because of King Saul, David mourned the loss of the very man who was trying to kill him (2 Samuel 1:17-27).

This is the very essence of what loving your enemies is all about and more specifically, what it means to be a Christian “gold-digger”. While we know that David struggled with loving other enemies later in his life, we can recognize his bold obedience of this command in this story.

The Benefit of The Doubt

One example of this Christian “gold-digger” mindset is this story regarding theologians R.C. Sproul (1939-2017) and Billy Graham (1918 – 2018).

If you’re familiar with the evangelical circles, you’re familiar with what some interpreted was a theological division between these two men. Of course, these disagreements were real and certainly led to some of their followers ditching the teaching of the other. However, what was surprising to me was to see how R.C. Sproul spoke of the one he disagreed with so passionately. When asked the question, “Do you think you will see Billy Graham in Heaven?”, he responded with this:

“No, I don’t believe I will see Billy Graham in heaven. Billy Graham will be so close to the throne of God, and I will be so far away from the throne of God, that I will be lucky to even get a glimpse of him!”

Can you believe the reverence that he had for someone that he disagreed with so passionately? Of course, these two weren’t enemies, but they certainly had some strong disagreements over the years that would cause people to create divisions among their two camps. But can you imagine if our culture grasped this idea? Or even less, how about at least Christians?

When we clutch the belief that nobody is outside the scope of redemption, I believe we bear the heart of Christ in this pursuit. At the end of the day, I’d rather be wrong assuming the best about somebody than be right in assuming the worst.