Dr. Russell Conwell who founded what is now Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, repeated a story told to him by a tour guide during a trip to Nineveh and Babylon in 1870. Here’s his story.
There was a wealthy Persian farmer named Ali Hafed, owner of a very large farm with orchards, grain fields, and gardens. Hafed was happy and contented. A Buddhist priest visited him and spoke of diamonds with beauty and value beyond belief. He said if Hafed had a handful of diamonds he could purchase a whole country, and with a mine of diamonds, he could place his children upon thrones because of the influence of their vast wealth.
That night Hafed, who had considered himself wealthy and happy, became discontented. He now felt he was poor and needy. Where could he find these diamonds?
The priest told him to look for a river running through white sands between high mountains. There he would find the diamonds.
Hafed sold his farm, left his family in the charge of a neighbor and began the search for his desired treasure. Into Palestine and all through Europe Hafed wandered and searched. At last with his money was gone and failing to find his long-sought diamonds he was in poverty. Standing on the seashore at Barcelona, Hafed, having lost all, cast himself into an outgoing wave and was never seen again.
The man who had bought Hafed’s farm discovered in a stream in his garden a large stone having a light within. He placed it on the mantel inside the farm home.
The priest who had originally spoken to Hafed about diamonds paid a visit to the new owner. He noticed the stone on the mantel and said, “Here is a diamond! Has Hafed returned?” “No,” replied the owner. “I found the stone in a creek running through my land.” Together they went to the garden stream and discovered more stones, “diamonds” bigger than the first one. This discovery led to the establishment of Golconda, one of the richest diamond mines in the world.
In desperation to satisfy his discontent, Ali Hafed had tragically searched the world for what was already in his own back yard. He failed to realize that on his own farm were “acres of diamonds.” This story, repeated hundreds of times in a message Russell Conwell delivered, became a book entitled “Acres Of Diamonds.” Its message is insightful and probing.
Too many times we have discounted our own present wealth and happiness and allowed discontent to upset life. We sell the treasures we own in a vain effort to acquire more. There is never enough! Never!
Priceless diamonds of opportunity are all around us, where we are, now! There may be a diamond of a friendship we can cultivate… or an open door through which we may walk…or a love we can deepen…or a life we could influence.
It’s time we stopped looking for satisfaction somewhere else and start searching our own back yards. If we don’t, sometime someone else will.
Let’s look closely at our acres. Let’s consider carefully who we are, where we are and what we have. As we pick up each diamond we can enrich our lives. Matthew 6:19-21 should be our guide: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:33 can also be a challenge: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Let’s start searching our “acres of diamonds” today!