Finding Treasure in Your own Backyard

Written by Phil Callaway

life_diamondsDuring the years when diamonds were first being discovered in Africa, a farmer was intrigued by the promise of great wealth. Only one thing stood in his way. His farm had to be sold before he could set off in search of the diamonds that would make him a wealthy man. At last the deal was done and he was free. Free to pursue his dream.

The search was long and painful. Trekking mile after weary mile across desserts and plains, through jungles and mountain passes, the farmer searched for the elusive diamonds. But none could be found.

Finally, pennyless, sick, and utterly depressed, he took his own life by throwing himself into a raging river.

Back home, the man who had bought the farm carefully tilled the land. One day as he was planting a crop, he came across a strange-looking stone. Carrying it to the farmhouse, he placed it on the mantel.

A visitor to the farmer’s home saw the unusual stone over the fireplace, examined it, then turned to the new owner of the farm and said, “You have found one of the largest diamonds ever known to man.” Further investigation revealed that the entire farm was literally covered with similar magnificent stones. The farm sold by the first farmer turned out to be one of the richest, most productive diamond mines in the world.

One hundred years ago, Dr. Russell Herman Conwell traveled the United States telling and retelling this story. One hundred years later, we still need to hear it. You see, just like that farmer, too few of us take the time to investigate and polish what we already have. In our disappointment with the way things are, in our quest to get ahead, we fail to recognize the wealth in our own backyard. And we end up walking over untold riches every day.

While speaking in a farming community recently, I met Andrew. A successful insurance and investment consultant, he spent the last twenty years of his life searching for diamonds. Eighteen months ago, he made his way back home. But by then, his house was empty. His wife of twenty-three years had taken their teenage son and daughter and moved 1,000 miles away, leaving Andrew with a sprawling ranch, two speedboats and an antique car collection. “I have absolutely everything,” he told me. “It’s all paid for. But I’ve never been so empty. I didn’t realize what I had, until it was gone.”

Six months ago, suicidal and desperate, Andrew fell to his knees and prayed, asking Jesus Christ to change him. To forgive him of the past and help him face the future. “This may sound crazy,” he told me, “but since that day I’ve experienced more peace than I had during all those years of success. In a lot of ways, my life is the most chaotic it’s ever been, but every morning I take my worries and concerns to the living room and I spend an hour on my knees trying to leave them with God. Sometimes I find myself picking them up again during the day, but I’m learning to trust Him to take care of my family just like He’s taking care of me.”

Today Andrew is doing all he can to reconcile with his wife and children, but he knows the road ahead is steep. “I thought I was giving them everything they needed,” he says. “I guess what they really needed was me.”

When I told Andrew about the book I was writing, he said, “Tell people about the riches of relationships. I was so busy building an empire I forgot to build a home. I was so busy working on multi-million dollar deals that I hardly had time to buy my friends a cup of coffee. I’d trade all this stuff in a heartbeat for a good marriage.”

I wish I could turn the clock back for Andrew. And sometimes I’d like to turn it back for myself. But like Andrew, I’m learning that it is relationships, not ranches, that make men rich. I’m learning that we make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.

Are you stepping over treasure today?

Living with hope

If you are looking for peace, there is a way to balance your life. No one can be perfect, or have a perfect life. But every one of us has the opportunity to experience perfect grace through a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.

Is this the life for you?

If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.

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