No need to search this world for riches

Published 5:00 am Sunday, June 30, 2024

In the opening pages of Russell H. Conwell’s inspirational classic, “Acres of Diamonds,” the well-known preacher and educator tells a story he learned from an old Arab guide in Persia.
It is the story of a rich man named Ali Hafed, who was content with his riches until he learned about diamonds. He had never thought about diamonds before, he did not even know about them.
But now he began to aspire to the kind of wealth they would bring. Eventually, he left home in pursuit of them.
Over a period of years, Hafed used up his money in searching and at last died a poor man on the shores of the Bay of Barcelona.
Meanwhile, back in Persia, the man who had purchased Hafed’s farm found an unusual pebble in the brook where the former owner had often watered his cattle.
It turned out to be a diamond.
Soon more were discovered.
In this way, said Conwell’s guide, the world-famous Golconda mines developed, from which have been taken many of the most famous jewels of the crowned heads of Europe.
In Matthew 13:44, Jesus said: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
We can see how the man finally found what he had been looking for because he went and sold everything he owned.
By purchasing the field, the man became the rightful owner of the land and therefore the treasure belonged to him.
That’s exactly how it is when we find the way to Heaven.
Heaven is the treasure that is worth more than any material possessions we could ever accumulate!
The sad truth is there are people who spend a great amount of their time trying to accumulate earthly wealth but they pass by the greatest treasure of all.
I am not against wealth or success and neither is God.
But what good is success without knowing how to get to Heaven?
What good does it do to have a five-year plan for your company and yet not know where you’ll go when your life comes to an end?
A wealthy industrialist leaped from the ninth-story room of a Chicago hotel leaving behind this note: “I am worth ten million dollars as men judge things, but I am so poor in spirit that I cannot live any longer. Something is terribly wrong with life.”
He was right.
Something was terribly wrong with his life because he had not found the true riches in Christ.
Jesus went on to say in verses 45-46: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
Just like the man who found the treasure, the pearl merchant recognized the pearl’s true value was worth more than all he had accumulated so he sold his possessions and bought it.
No doubt these two men died happy and fulfilled because they had found what they were looking for.
Daniel Webster once said, “If you want to feel rich, just count up all the things you have that money cannot buy.”
No matter what goals you have set for the future, take a moment and ask yourself this question: What am I living for?
You see, Jesus is the door to Heaven and true riches…and what He offers is the free gift of eternal life.
That, my friend, is worth living and dying for!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.

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