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Once upon a time, an honest boat captain had discovered a large vein of gold on an island. Since he so firmly believed in the 12 sailors on his boat, he took them ashore and showed them the treasure. Each man made a treasure map. He then gave them instructions to take some gold dust with them to show people what treasure they had found. He told them: “You know there is more here than we could all spend in a lifetime. Feel free to show your maps to people and tell them to come to meet their need. Make copies of the map and give them to your family and friends, for there is sufficient here for all.”

They returned to the mainland and let their friends copy their maps, and for years men went and found treasure and their needs were met. Centuries passed and none of the original maps could be found, but there were a few of the copies that remained. Many compared the maps and the travelers found the vein of gold there for the taking and meeting of their needs. And deepest desires in spite of little differences in the maps.

However, some mocked the maps because they were not originals. The words on the maps differed in spelling, and incidentals were left uncopied. The grammar differed. The maps were inconsistent because the copyists who had made them erred in some of their copying. In fact, there was only 1/4 of 1% difference (.0025) difference in all the maps from the map the majority had used. These skeptics would not go and mocked those who did. They could only see the discrepancies, not the harmony, of the 5,000 maps that existed. New maps were constantly being found that dated back to within a few years of the captain himself. These newly found maps showed the location of the treasure and differed very little from the one everyone had been using for years.

They would not seek, so they would not find. Some denied the captain and his 12 men ever lived. So, in unbelief, these poor souls labored for their own wealth while those who believed the map sought and found the wealth the world could never yield by the toil of their own hands.

The map is called the Bible. Even though you do not have the original you can find joy unspeakable and peace that passes all understanding. Let the skeptic delight in finding alleged discrepancies while you go find the gold.