– By Bill Nelson
One day, a man purchased a pair of diamond earrings as a gift for his wife. The wife was sincerely touched that he had remembered their anniversary and the husband beamed to see his wife so pleased. She had once mentioned that someday she would like such a pair of earrings to match her wedding band. He had saved a little each month for several years in order to buy them. The only problem was that his wife, thinking that there was no way in the world the husband could have afforded real diamonds, thought they were cubic zirconium.
In the month that followed, she wore the earrings casually. She was careless when she put them on and took them off, and finally she misplaced one. When she told her husband, he became very concerned. Only then did she realize that the diamonds were real. The worth of the stones had never changed. What had changed was how she valued the stones.
What is the difference between a person we value as a beautiful diamond and one who is merely an artificial substitute?
The answer is that in God’s eyes, we are all diamonds. It is the image we have of ourselves that will make us into what others see.
My wife and I recently watched a movie that was staged during the big band era. Benny Goodman was a rather ordinary looking man in rimless glasses and a conservative business suit; but he was also a man who could play the clarinet like no other before or since. This made Benny Goodman a unique individual.
Many people in history stand out from the crowd like Benny Goodman. Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa and Robert E. Lee are only a few. They were recognized by the world and honored for no other reason than because they sought for excellence. They DID something that made others take notice.
When people wear garish clothes, dye their hair strange colors and decorate their skin, they are only drawing attention to what they are on the outside. But an ordinary guy who has dyed his hair purple or orange, is nothing more than an ordinary guy with funny looking hair.
But almost everyone can appreciate the worth of an individual when we see someone who strives for excellence. Those people who invent, who improvise, who know more about a subject than other people do and who take something that doesn’t work and make it work – these are the people who gain more than a glance as we pass them in the parking lot. Those who love and serve without expecting recognition, perform tedious jobs without complaint …live Christlike lives…are the people that set a standard for the rest of us.
An old priest told a wealthy Persian named Ali Hafed that if he had a diamond the size of his thumb, he could purchase a dozen farms.
“Find a river that runs through white sand, between high mountains In those white sands you will find diamonds.”
Ali Hafed made up his mind to find diamonds. He sold his farm, but after many years of searching, he had spent all of his money. He passed away in rags.
Meanwhile, the man who purchased Ali Hafed’s farm one day led his camel out into the garden to drink. As the animal put his nose into the shallow waters, the farmer noticed a curious flash of light in the white sands of the stream. Reaching in, he pulled out a black stone containing a strange eye of light. In the black stone was a diamond. According to the story, this marked the discovery of the most valuable diamond mines in the history of the ancient world.
Had Ali Hafed remained at home and dug in his own cellar or anywhere in his own fields, rather than traveling in strange lands where he eventually faced starvation and ruin, he would have had “acres of diamonds.” 1
How many times do we look for our happiness at a distance in space or time rather than right now, in our own homes, with our own families and friends?
When we look for opportunities to serve others, or when we invite purity into our own lives and into the world that surrounds us, we find beautiful diamonds in our own backyards.
As a young man, the son of King Louis XVI of France was kidnapped by evil men who had dethroned his father. These men tried to destroy him morally, knowing that he would then be unworthy to inherit the throne. For six months they subjected him to every vile thing life had to offer, and yet he never yielded under pressure. This puzzled his captors, and after doing everything they could think of, they asked him why he had such great moral strength. His reply, “I cannot do what you ask, for I was born to be a king.”
Like the king’s son, each of us have inherited a royal birthright; a divine heritage. Virtue, kindness, goodness, and charity, or sharing our talents for the happiness of others…these things develop the inner beauty of a person. This is the beauty that really matters, the beautiful lasting diamonds in our lives.
Benny Goodman performed his music with excellance for his appreciative audiences in a plain business suit and dress shoes. He was one of those ordinary people who wanted to be the best that they could be…
Diamonds shining in white sand.