Diamonds Right in Front of Us
In 1843, a man was born who was to have a profound effect upon the lives of millions of people. He name was Russell Herman Conwell. He became a lawyer, then a newspaper editor, and finally a minister. In his efforts to raise money to begin what is today Temple University, Dr. Conwell gave over 6,000 lectures and in each one of them, he told a story called “Acres of Diamonds.” It was a true story that had affected him very deeply, and it had the same effect on his audiences. The money he needed to build the college came pouring in.
The story was the account of an African farmer who had heard tales about other farmers who had made millions by discovering diamond mines. These tales so excited the farmer that he could hardly wait to sell his farm and go prospecting for diamonds himself. So he sold the farm and spent the rest of his life wandering the African continent, searching unsuccessfully for the gleaming gems that brought such high prices on the markets of the world. Finally, the story goes, worn-out and in a fit of despondency, he threw himself into a river and drowned.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or farm, in this case, the man who bought the farm happened to be crossing the small stream on the property. Suddenly, there was a bright flash of blue and red light from the stream’s bottom. He bent down, picked up the stone – it was a good-sized stone – and, admiring it, later put it on his fireplace mantle, as an interesting curiosity.
Several weeks later, a visitor to his home picked up the stone, looked closely at it, hefted it in his hand – and nearly fainted. He asked the farmer if he knew what he had found. When the farmer said no, that he had thought it was a piece of crystal, the visitor told him he had fund one of the largest diamonds ever discovered. The farmer had trouble believing that. He told the man that his creek was full of such stones – not as large, perhaps as the one on the mantel, but they were sprinkled generously throughout the creek bottom.
Needless to say, the farm the first farmer had sold so that he might find a diamond mine turned out to be the most productive diamond mine on the entire African continent. The first farmer had owned, free and clear, acres of diamonds, but he had sold them for practically nothing in order to look for them elsewhere.
The moral is clear: If only the first farmer had taken the time to study and prepare himself – to learn what diamonds look like in their rough state – and since he had already owned a piece of the African continent, to thoroughly explore the property he had before looking elsewhere, all of his wildest dreams would have come true.
The fact is, each of us is, at this moment, standing in the middle of his or her own acre of diamonds in our local congregations. If only we will have the wisdom and patience to intelligently and effectively explore our churches, we can find the riches that God has placed among us. With some prayer, study and close examination, we will discover the diamonds among us. Many members are just diamonds in the rough; they need to be discovered, developed and put to work.
This is what I do best: help churches and church leaders discover God’s diamonds. God doesn’t make junk. The church is full of potential that has to be discovered. Please contact me so I train you to discover God’s riches among you.
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