You know, some stories are so good they never grow old, and one of them was the old story called Acres of Diamonds.
No one knows who told it the first time – it’s supposed to be true – and of course it is, in that it’s happened thousands of times to thousands of people in thousands of different situations.
But the man who made this story famous (in this country, at least) was Dr. Russell Herman Conwell, who lived from 1843 to 1925 and who by telling the story from one end of the world to the other raised $6 million with which he founded Temple University in Philadelphia. And thus fulfilled his dream to build a really fine school for poor but deserving young men.
Dr. Conwell told the story Acres of Diamonds more than 6,000 times and attracted great audiences wherever he appeared.
I’m sure you’re as familiar with the story as I am, but it isn’t the story that’s so important in itself (and you’re probably wondering if I’ll ever get around to telling it.) The important thing is that we apply the principle of this story to our lives.
The story is about a farmer who lived in Africa at the time diamonds were discovered there. When a visitor to his farm told him of the millions being made by men who were discovering diamond mines, he promptly sold his farm and left to search for diamonds himself.
He wandered all over the continent, found no diamonds and as the story has it – finally penniless, in poor health, and despondent – threw himself into a river and drowned.
Long before this, the man who had bought the farm found a large unusual looking stone in the creek bed which ran through the farm and put it on his mental as a curio.
Enter here the same visitor who had told the original farmer about the diamond discoveries. He examined the stone and then told the new owner that he had discovered one of the largest diamonds ever found – and that it was worth a king’s ransom.
To his surprise, the farmer told him the entire farm was covered with stones of that kind and – to make a long story short, if it isn’t already too late – the farm, which the first farmer had sold so that he could go look for diamonds, turned out to be one of the richest diamond mines in the world.
The point Doctor Conwell made was that the first farmer had owned acres of diamonds, but it made the mistake of not examining what he had before he ran off to something he hoped would prove to be better. He would then point out that each of us is like that first farmer, no matter where we live or what we do, we’re surrounded by acres of diamonds – if we will simply look for them.
Like the curious-appearing stones, which covered the farm, they might not appear to be diamonds at first glance – but a little study, a deeper examination, and some polishing will reveal our opportunities for what they really are.
The experts say that each of us as deep reservoirs of ability, which we habitually fail to use – simply because we failed to develop ourselves to our true stature. And there is lurking in our daily work as well as in ourselves – acres of diamonds.