- Baptist Beacon
by Allen Ballard
VANDERBILT, MI – In 1867 on a farm in South Africa, 15-year-old Erasmus Jacobs saw a stone glistening in the sun. The shining rock was eventually reported to a neighbor, who wanted to buy it from the family. Not knowing its value, Erasmus’ mother told the neighbor, "You can keep the stone, if you want it."
Eventually, a mineralogist determined the stone to be a 21.25 carat diamond and worth a great sum. It became known as the "Eureka Diamond." (The Greek word eureka means "I found it!") Soon the fields near the Jacobs’ farm soared in value. Underneath the land was one of the richest diamond deposits ever discovered.
Jesus said that the value of being part of God’s kingdom is like treasure:
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field" (Matt. 13:44).
When we put our faith in Christ, a spiritual "eureka moment" arrives. God gives us forgiveness in His Son. It is the greatest treasure that could ever be found. Now all of life can begin to center on the value of becoming a joyous member of His eternal kingdom. It’s our joy to share that valuable discovery with others. God’s kingdom is a treasure meant to be shared.
When my family and I moved here in September of 2009, we had no idea how much of a "Eureka" moment this would be. I remember sitting on a bench and asking the question "When I say the word Baptist what comes to your mind". The responses were shocking; many said bible thumper or cult or they simply had no idea. For me that was a true sign that the Gospel was needed in North Michigan.
This year we are slated to have another banner year. One of our successes has been the introduction of our live broadcast on Facebook and Zoom. During the pandemic we had the choice to slow down and give up, or we could see it as a different opportunity to get the message out.
In the last two years our church has seen an increase in giving and an increase in attendance both on-line and in person. Our on-line presence has allowed us to reach those otherwise missed by "traditional" methods thus our "Eureka" moment.
One person that comes to mind is Vic and Donna and his mother. Every Sunday they are faithful in both Sunday School and Worship as they are not able to travel very far to be with us in- person, but they are part of our church nonetheless.
How can you change the way you do what you’re doing? We get stuck in a rut. You know what a rut is right? "It’s a grave with the ends kicked out".
The church needs to find new ways to meet others, to reach out to people, and to stay engaged with our communities even during the worst times because that’s when we’ll find our diamonds. You see, If you’re looking you too can find your Eureka Diamond moment.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Allen Ballard is Pastor of Pigeon River Baptist Church in Vanderbilt, Michigan. He and his wife, Jean and family, have served there since 2009. Pastor Allen says that he is serving as senior pastor to a church and a community that needs the love of Christ both preached and shown by example. He believes that we are called to lead by being a servant first and an example unto the life of Christ.