My father had a fascination with treasure. He loved to read about the gold buried in the Superstition Mountains. He was thrilled at the adventures of those looking for sunken treasure ships and hidden pirate gold.  When he was diagnosed with cancer, I happened on an exhibit of the treasures from the Nuestra Señora de Atocha treasure ship.  Atocha sank in 1622, and was rediscovered by Mel Fisher and his crew 363 years later.

At the exhibit, the salesclerks were offering replicas of Atocha artifacts found in the wreck.  The originals were used to create molds.  Then non-artistic silver was poured in to make the copies.  This metal was from disks of the ore mined using slave labor in Peru.  In the ocean it had oxidized into a silver mess and this was a good use for it.   I gave my father a cross made from the silver.  He was thrilled to have it, but I never learned whether it was because it was from the Atocha or because it might have had spiritual meaning for him. When he passed away my mother gave it back to me and I bought a matching chain and wore it around my neck for many years.

At some point I felt bad about the stolen silver.  When I found out that my friends Rick and Lori we’re going to Peru I asked them to return it to anyone they felt should have it in that far away country. I kept the chain.  While in Peru, they graciously bought me a more-simple silver cross.   When they returned home, I put the new cross on the same chain.  I wear it to this day and often think of them and the trip they made.

There are several things that I do when I get up each morning. Before I leave my bed, I read a passage from the Old Testament in my Bible and another passage from the New Testament. Starting my day this way reminds me that Jesus is the Master.  When I am ready to go, I reach for the chain with its cross.  I always find the clasp off-center and must straighten it to put it at the top before I hang the chain around my neck.

The clasp reminds me of how far away I sometimes get from my goal of honoring Christ as I start the day. Head-twisting, neck-turning challenges during my waking hours often cause the clasp to end up all the way down by the cross. It is a measure of the attempt by the old man in me to influence the new man in Christ. Overcoming my old tendencies requires daily maintenance through my reading and thoughts.  I treasure succeeding against that clash more than silver and more than gold.  The Atocha silver is old, but the story of the Messiah is older by far.

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