I like to watch the reality shows about digging for gold in Alaska. I find it amazing how gold diggers will invest millions of dollars in equipment, risk family fortunes and their own lives in hopes of discovering the mother lode. They will sift through tons of mud, finding only a few ounces of gold, but continue onward in hopes of finding more. Through rain and snow they continue their quest, determined to the very end.

“Panning for gold” is a phrase people are familiar with, even though most of us will never do it; but we may be able to identify with having an obsession that consumes our lives. To obtain a few ounces of gold, we’re willing to plow through several tons of mud and debris.

Writing Why Your History Matters was like panning for gold for two years of my life. I was unfamiliar with many of the important people who made up my Christian heritage, but the more I read about them, the more I wanted to find out. It was necessary to plow through some very negative elements of my history, like mud to a gold digger, but it was very much worth the effort.

As we enter 2017, the five hundred year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, I would like to encourage Christians to be willing to “pan for the gold” of their Christian heritage. Yes, our heritage covers great men and women who may not be part of our own denomination or Church group in the present day, but they may be part of the very foundation of twenty-first century Christianity. Our history includes Perpetua, Constantine, Joan of Arc, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, Desiderius Erasmus, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, George Washington Carver, and countless others who deserve our attention.

Christians, get your gold pans. Discover your ancestors. You can begin with Wittenberg, October 31, 1517.