Discover the Diamond Within You:, Part 1:
Discovering the Gem
September 18, 2005
The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor
Montgomery United Methodist Church
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, good morning! The title of our sermon this morning, the beginning of a series, is “Discover the Diamond Within You.” Let me tell you, this happens to preachers sometimes. I was working on the sermon based on today’s lectionary, and I felt as if I’d been tapped on the shoulder. It was as if the Lord were saying to me, “Why are you working on this? Why don’t you tell them about what we’ve been talking about all summer, you and I?” And how do you say no to that?
I want to share with you an idea that I feel so strongly about, it may be the single most important idea I can share with you. And it comes under the title “The Diamond Within You.” To that end, let’s read Matthew 13:44. Jesus is speaking:
“The kingdom of heaven is like this: A man happens to find a treasure hidden in a field. He covers it up again, and he is so happy that he goes and sells everything he has and then goes back and buys that field.” This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
I have never felt so strongly about that passage as I do today, dear friends. Let me recast the story just a little bit.
Jesus is saying, do you want to know how God sees you? Consider this. This fellow goes out one day and looks at this field. He’s not very happy. He looks at the field and sees that it’s trampled down, it’s full of weeds, and it has a big “FOR SALE” sign on it. He looks at the field wistfully, because he used to own it. It was an inheritance. It was always in his family. But he sold it, and he bought some things that he thought would make him happy, but they didn’t. So he went back and looked wistfully at the field with the “FOR SALE” sign on it.
He looked in the middle of the field, and in the midst of his sadness, he saw something. He went over to it and dusted it off. It was a point of light. It was a glimmer. The sun hit that rock that he’d found, and it glowed like a rainbow. He brushed more dust away, and more of the glimmering rock appeared.
But he was an honest man. He didn’t just take the stone. He covered it up. And he went out and sold everything he had, and he put the money down and bought that field from its current owner. You see, it had gone through several owners. He returned to the field and dug up the stone. And, Jesus tells us, he was so happy! He held the stone up. It was covered with sand and mud. It had been trampled on, but it was intact. As he brushed it off, he realized that it was a diamond, and it was his. He had bought it back.
He would need some help getting all the sand and mud off – but we’re going to talk about that next week. He held that diamond to himself. And Jesus said, in the strongest terms, he was so happy.
What was the diamond? The diamond was him. The diamond stood for his soul. The diamond stood for a precious, priceless, irreplaceable part of him that he was once again connected with. The diamond was the sacred core of him. And in this parable, Jesus is telling us that this is where our relationship with God begins, because that diamond is placed in you and in me by Almighty God. It is the sacred part of you and me. It is indestructible. It always was, and it always will be, in the mind of God, for ever and ever.
And Jesus says that joy comes in getting rid of that which does not satisfy and trading it for that which does. And that which does begins with knowing that there is a diamond within you. That diamond is beautiful. It is wonderful, like the face of a child, like a flawless rose. That diamond is precious and excellent. That diamond was created by Almighty God, and shines with the reflection of heavenly light. It is worthy to stand before Almighty God, who created it. That, my friends, is the essence of you and me.
In the Christian church there has been much dialogue over the centuries about original sin. Some of our Christian brothers and sisters might say that a relationship with God begins by saying “All have sinned and fallen short of the grace of God.” How many times have you and I heard that? It was in deep prayer and reading this summer that I have come to the insight that we must ask the question, “fallen from what?” Fallen from an appreciation of what God has put inside of you, fallen from the knowledge that you are a diamond within. Is it not better to say that a relationship with God begins with that insight? And then we go from there; we’ll talk more about that next week.
There is a diamond within you that God put there, and that’s the truth. Who needs to hear this? Oh, my friends, as a pastor, I talk with a lot of people during the week, and I know people who have reached into the field that is their life and come up only with sand. I know people who have reached into the field and come up only with mud. I know people who have sold the field out; their worth is determined by them, by people, not by God. Their worth is determined by whether someone says they’re okay. Their field has been sold and not yet bought back.
Buy it back! It’s yours. And know that within it is the diamond that is priceless and beautiful and pure and wonderful. Who needs to hear it? Family members who have sold out on themselves and are destroying themselves by not knowing their value. Children who are hurting themselves because they don’t know about the diamond within.
Who needs to know about it? Dear people, who have had a very tough childhood, who have had things happen to them in childhood that should never happen to anyone, who have had things said to them that should never have been said and who struggle with their own worth. Know, dear one, know in your heart that the core of you is the gem of great price, that the core of you is the diamond within. That’s the message of Jesus Christ, who came to love that part of us and to remind us that it is there.
Dear friends, our new bishop, Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar, is from India. And you could imagine our delight when he greeted the clergy with the phrase “Namaste.” It’s an Indian expression that means “The divinity within me salutes the divinity within you.”
Here’s your homework for next week: Ask yourself, my friend, are you in touch with the diamond at your core? Do you know that God loves you with an everlasting love and sees you as a person of priceless worth? Please know it. It is true. God loves you. I do, too. More next week. Have a blessed week. Amen.
© 2005 Anthony J. Godlefski