Keeping The Loot



This month A French Climber found a metal box filled with precious Gems as he scaled Mont Blanc.  As improbable as the story sounds to us, finding buried articles in the French Alps is not uncommon.

Mont Blanc rises from the earth under the well-travelled airspace between France and India, and there were several plane crashes in the region during the early years of commercial air travel.

Due to the extreme cold, climbers routinely come across the curiously well-preserved wreckage and bodies from these disasters.

It’s a hazard of the sport.

There in the wild, alone and at altitude, the climber came across what is now estimated to be $332,000 dollars worth of stones and jewelry… some of it marked “Made in India”.

With the knowledge that these goods originated in India, and most likely arrived at the scene as the result of a tragedy that cost a family a loved one and their personal fortune, the climber went down the hill and turned the box in to the police.

He asked them to see if the jewels could be traced and returned to the family of the deceased.

If no one comes forward, he is entitled to keep them.

It probably seemed like a big risk to turn the gems in, people don’t forget when someone who they love dies… especially when they die transporting a fortune in precious goods.

But consider the risk of not turning them in though.

I know that I like to think that I won’t get caught when I do something wrong, but the truth is that I’m just not “getting caught” by another person.

While God knows truly what I’ve done, I’m actually caught by something other than somebody else.

I’m caught by my sin,
And sin enslaves me to the thoughts and feelings that come along with it.

Taking the jewels wouldn’t have actually guaranteed that the climber got to keep them, it simply increased that probability.

It also would have increased the possibility that he spent a portion of his life behind bars.

Beyond this it also would have meant living with a secret that he would always revisit privately in his mind.

It would mean living with anxiety.

It would mean living with fear.

It would mean living with guilt.

It would mean living with shame.

Giving the jewels to the authorities decreased the possibility that the climber would be able to keep the treasure trove.

It also increased the probability that he would lie a life of emotional, intellectual, and spiritual freedom.

Beyond this it also meant living with the knowledge that he achieved something heroic that day.

It meant living with joy.

It meant living with peace.

It meant living with pride.

It meant living whole.

By giving the stones an opportunity to find their owner he didn’t endanger his ability to become truly wealthy; he removed the opportunity to live in true poverty.

He gave himself the opportunity to truly own the gems, instead of being owned by them.

That’s something I’ll be striving to remember.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

One Response to “Keeping The Loot”

  1. Mike October 1, 2013 at 6:44 am #

    Great nugget Jon. It reminds me of the childhood question “Would you steal a million dollars if you KNEW there was no way you could get caught?” I find myself stunned that there is still this type of integrity in the world especially if it’s outside of a christian attempting to live out biblical morality… “so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky”…..This man certainly stands out against the backdrop of modern society!

    I would love to know more about the life of this man who find the treasure.

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