Barney Breyfogle’s Slope
By J.R. Ensey
Barney Breyfogle struck it rich!
After spending months back in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains with a pick and a pan, he struck the mother lode—a seam of gold on a slope that would make him wealthy. He quickly realized he had to have an outfit, and perhaps other men, to help him mine the precious metal and transport it out. Alone, he could only carry out only a small amount of the gold. He buried his pick and other equipment so others would not find his stake, and, putting a few nuggets in a sack, began his trek out of the mountains. After several days, he staggered out of the desert and was found by a rancher, half starved, bedraggled, and almost delirious. The rancher took him to the nearest town. After recuperating, Barney explained his discovery to others he felt he could trust. They put together an outfit and started back to the hills. He soon found, however, that all the slopes began to look alike and he could not remember exactly where his strike was. He was disoriented. Barney, and the men with him, searched for months but could never find his strike. Obviously, they were looking in all the wrong places.
Today, Gen Xers—including Pentecostal youth—are looking for answers. They want solutions to nagging problems. They want peace, prosperity, alternatives to war, answers to crime, delinquency, and drugs. They search for ways to lead others out of alcoholism, fix family problems, and heal broken relationships. But, sadly, many are looking in all the wrong places.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus came and put His finger on the heart of the matter. He gave men solutions. He offered alternatives. In a single sermon He made plain the essence of the Christian life: a sound faith, a selfless attitude, and a personal relationship with the Lord Himself. Since then, however, men have lost their way, become disoriented, and cannot seem to return to those simple answers Jesus provided so long ago.
In spite of all that Jesus did to guide us away from our problems toward the solutions, men have continued to wander through the trackless reaches of reason, philosophy, and education. They have searched the hollow halls of transcendental meditation, trekked through the vacant vagaries of psychological theories, and many have experimented with mind-expanding drugs—all to no avail. They are not finding the slope of gold. They are not looking in the right place.
They need to go back and take a look in the Book—the Bible. Answers are there—answers to personal problems, to questions like, “Why am I here? Where am I going? What am I to do?” Directions are there—like what is the proper relationship with my parents? How can I find God’s will for my life? How should I run my business? How can I be a faithful laborer? How should I manage my finances? Even “the way of a man with a maid.” The Book is clear, authoritative, and altogether trustworthy. The kingdoms it said would rise and fall did. The men it said would be judged were. The events it prophesied came to pass. “The word of the Lord is right” (Psalm 33:4).
The Bible is the most magnificent, enduring, and indestructible book ever compiled. Yet many reject it as a roadmap to success, having become disoriented by visions of that seam of gold that will make them personally wealthy, or honored, or famous. Men have come and gone from the stage of life and their works seldom live long after them. But the Bible is still revered and loved by millions. A few fools have devoted their lives to defying and even destroying the Book. They are gone, but the Book lives on. The world is no better for their attacks, but the Book continues to make a positive contribution to civilization, morality and ethics.
Men are still searching for the path to peace and happiness—the elusive mother lode of truth that will set them free. But they are looking in the wrong places.
Take a look in the Book!