Enjoying the Journey
When I was thirteen years old an elderly preacher in the mountains of West Virginia gave me a book. It was old and dusty. There were no pictures and at the time it seemed like a good book just to put on the shelf. Several years passed before I actually read its yellowed pages, but after reading them I would never forget them.
Russell Conwell was a preacher and educator. He started what is now known as Temple University in Philadelphia. Conwell traveled the world giving a very famous lecture over 5,000 times. Any honorarium that was given to him was in turn given to some young person to help them through college. But the value of his lecture was worth far more than money to me.
Acres of Diamonds was the story of a Persian man named Ali Hafed. He was a very wealthy man with a beautiful family. One day a Buddhist priest made a visit to the old Persian farmer and spent most of his time telling Ali Hafed about the beauty and value of diamonds. Ali Hafed grew so engrossed with the thought of owning his own diamond mine that seeds of discontentment grew in his heart. He sold his farm. He left his family with a neighbor, and set off on a lifelong quest for diamonds. After searching several countries, he stood in rags at the bay in Barcelona, Spain and took his own life. He had spent all and had nothing to show for it.
It was a tragic story. But the saddest part was yet to come.
Soon after Ali Hafed left Persia, the man who purchased his farm led his camel to a garden brook to drink. As the camel drank from the shallow water it uncovered an interesting stone. Thinking it very beautiful, he polished it and set it on the mantel over the fire. The same priest came to visit and immediately recognized it as a diamond. They began to sift through the garden sands and found another and another. Beneath Ali Hafed’s farm sat the great diamond mine of Golconda. The crown jewels of England and Russia would come from that mine. It was the largest discovery of a diamond mine in the world at that time.
The moral of the story was that if Ali Hafed had simply stayed home and worked in his own garden he would have found Acres of Diamonds. What he was looking for all along was in front of him every day.
I am not suggesting that you go dig up your back yard. Nor am I promising you diamonds. There is something far more valuable than diamonds. It is sad to hear so many young people wishing their lives away, waiting for the day they can be “free” from home and launch out on their own.
Christ told the story of a runaway boy. We usually refer to him as the prodigal son. He packed his bags and left his father far behind. But the more he got what he wanted, the less he wanted what he got. All that he needed he found at home.
In a survey of six hundred university students, the word identified as the most beautiful word in the English language was: mother. Distance changes perspective. And so the old saying goes, “Sometimes we do not appreciate what we have until it is gone.” I live hundreds of miles away from my family now. Occasionally I will drive several hours just to have a meal with them. (You know you are starting to get old when you actually like your sister!) The older you get the more priceless family becomes.
Most people value their friends more than their families. That is a terrible mistake. You only get one family. Some people spend years of their life looking for love and relationships only to end up empty. Husbands leave wives and wives leave husbands, all looking for something more than they have. Don’t miss what God has already given you!
If you have a Christian family you are a wealthy person. Perhaps you do not have a Christian home, but you do have Christ. Could it be that God has put you in that home to help make it a Christian home?
The world is full of elusive dreams and vague promises. God has given you something far more precious, and priceless. A wise person will value the relationships God has given them and work to find the treasure in each one. Don’t miss the blessings that are right in front of you. Don’t miss your Acres of Diamonds.