I once heard a story by Earl Nightingale, one that has stuck with me for many years. Earl Nightingale (1921-1989) was an American radio speaker and author. He dealt mostly with subjects of human character development, motivation, and meaningful existence. I have retold one of his stories many times and now I would like to share that story with you.
Here is Mr. Nightingale’s story entitled, “Acres of Diamonds”.
“The story is told of an African farmer who heard tales of other farmers who made millions after discovering diamond mines. These tales so excited him that he could hardly wait to sell his farm and go prospecting for diamonds himself. He sold the farm and spent the rest of his life wandering the African continent unsuccessfully searching for the gleaming gems. Finally, worn out and in a fit of despondency, he threw himself into a river and drowned.
Meanwhile, the man who had bought his farm happened to be crossing the small stream on the property one day, when suddenly there was a bright flash of blue and red light at the stream bottom. He bent down and picked up a large stone. He brought it home and put it on his fireplace mantel as an interesting curiosity.
Several weeks later, a visitor 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’d found. When the farmer said he thought it was a piece of crystal, the visitor told him he had found 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 all as large as the one on the mantel, but sprinkled generously throughout the creek bottom.
The farm the first farmer had sold turned out to be one of the most productive diamond mines 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 the first farmer had only taken the time to study and prepare himself to learn what diamonds looked like in their rough state, and to thoroughly explore the property he had before looking elsewhere, all of his wildest dreams would have come true.”
I have pondered Mr. Nightingale’s story “Acres of Diamonds” over the years. When I have encountered important and sometimes difficult decisions, whether they be spiritual, family, or work related, this message invariably comes to mind. Along with prayer, Mr. Nightingale ‘s words have provided me with encouragement and direction. We don’t always have to venture far to find what we are looking for.