It's a natural human trait to look for something better in life. Many people seek to be healthier, more attractive, wealthier, more popular, more influential, more talented, smarter—the list goes on. The grass is always greener somewhere else.
Russell Conwell was a Protestant minister and motivational speaker over a century ago who founded Temple University in Philadelphia. He became noted for one speech in particular called "Acres of Diamonds," which has much to teach us in terms of appreciating and making use of what we have.
There are variations of Conwell's story, but the basics concern a farmer who desired to become rich and decided to hunt for diamonds. The farmer sells his land and begins traveling in search of areas that would be diamond rich. Sadly, after decades of fruitless searching, and having exhausted all his money, the former farmer drowns himself in a river.
Meanwhile, the new owner of his farm came across strange-looking stones in his fields. So unusual were they that he kept one on his fireplace mantel. A friend visited one day and saw the stone there, recognizing it for what it was—a huge uncut diamond. The new farmer was encouraged to collect these "stones" and sell them—which he did, becoming fabulously wealthy.
The lesson: The original farmer never bothered to look on his own land for the wealth he was seeking.
We should ask, then: Do we make the most of what we have first, or do we think, "If I only had this or that, my life would be better"?
The apostle Paul cautions us to be content with what God has already given us: "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content" (Philippians 4:11).
Contentment doesn't only mean to make do; it can also mean to make use of what we have. What talents do we have that we can build on? It can be easy to ask God for something we think we need, but have we done the most with what He has already given us?
In the well-known parable of the talents, Jesus Christ reprimands the one who squandered his talent because he didn't value even the little he had been given (Matthew 25:14-30). Likewise, the farmer in Conwell's story didn't think he had anything to start with, and he missed the treasure right under his nose.
Jesus stated, "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world'" (Matthew 25:34).
The diamonds were just temporary wealth, like many of the useful but ephemeral things we value in this life—cars, vacations, tablets, smartphones, etc. We have a greater treasure accessible through the pages of God's Word and through the calling by which God has reserved for us His Kingdom.
Are you ready to acknowledge that calling? What will you do now to make the most of what you've already been given?