You’ve just won your first Olympic gold medal. Congratulations! But upon further review, you really just won yourself a silver medal with gold plating. Both gold and silver medals awarded to the first and second place finishers at the Olympic Games are made of 92.5% silver, with the gold medal being plated with at least 6 grams of gold, thus making the gold medal less than 2% gold. (The last gold medals truly made of gold were awarded at the 1912 Summer Olympics held in Stockholm, Sweden.) So then, what about the third place bronze medal? Is it really bronze? You be the judge – bronze is an alloy, meaning it is made by melting copper and tin together.
Maybe now you are wondering, why gold, silver and bronze? The three metals used in Olympic medals are located in the same column of the periodic table. This means they share many of the same characteristics with each other that make them good materials from which to create medals from. Copper is at the top of the column, thus the least rare, so it is for third place. Silver is one level down, rarer than copper, so it represents second place. And gold is found one level below silver in the column, thus the rarest of the three, so naturally first place. Although Olympic gold medals are more silver than gold, there are gold medals that are really made of gold, such as the Congressional Gold Medal and the Nobel Prize Medal.
We can agree that gold, whether it be coins, or some sort of medal awarded, is of great value. The Bible tells us that maintaining our faith in the midst of difficulties and trials is worth more than gold. In the first few verses of 1 Peter we are told God’s plan of redemption and restoration meets our every need, and this blessing is so great that we can pass through times of trouble by holding onto a faith in a living Jesus that we have not seen. (Read 1 Peter 1:3-9). Today we want to highlight two of those verses; in verses 6-7 we read these words, “In all of this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
The most pure form of gold is 24-karat and it comes through refining by fire. Gold ore is put to heat so the impurities, known as dross, can be burned away. Like gold, God refines us the same way. These trials we all face from time to time, some that truly shake us to our very core, help to sift out that which is pure and genuine in our faith from that which is impure. Through trials, God is refining and maturing us so we can do His will.
We encourage you to make this your prayer today… Dear Father, please give me the gift of faith that allows me to withstand life’s trials and difficulties. Through the fire burn away all that is impure and make me as gold, pure gold. Let me see myself with 19 gold medals draped around my neck, making me the most decorated gold medalist in Olympic history! And not just gold medals that are really gold plated silver but instead medals made from 24-karat gold! Thank you and Amen