Diamonds from coal…

So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I had been taught as a child that diamonds came from coal that had been exposed to immense pressure for many thousands of years. I always liked the idea that diamonds, the most sought-after, valuable and hardest substance in the world came from something common, cheap and brittle, a substance that was mostly fit just to throw on the fire.

There is a beautiful spiritual metaphor in that. What do we have to offer God that is not common, cheap and brittle? Our imperfect prayers, our half-hearted sacrifices, time begrudgingly spent on spiritual things—why would God not choose to throw our poor offerings on the fire?

The above scripture passage shows us that the way to please God with our offerings is to offer them in Christ and through Christ. He is the catalyst that makes all things new. It is the pressure of the cross that we carry for his sake and the persistent march up the hill of Calvary that works its science on our offerings. Linking our sufferings to those of Christ gives us hope that what we offer will bear fruit for the kingdom.

This is great news for penitents. We feel called to increased prayer and fasting, to abandon ourselves to Christ and accept whatever he chooses to send our way, to offer all our joys and sorrows to God through Christ. Unfortunately the reality of our offerings often falls far short of our aspirations. But in Christ, we hope and believe that our impure offerings will be turned into spiritual diamonds. Joined to the sufferings of Christ, we trust that our sacrifices win souls for the kingdom and hasten the coming of Jesus in glory. Is there any earthly comfort or treasure that can compare to such spiritual diamonds?

You are probably familiar with the movie Schindler’s List that came out a few years ago. It is a story of a man, Oskar Schindler who had a contract with the Nazis during the Second World War to manufacture arms for them in Poland. He started out as a hardened capitalist trying to get rich by using Jews as slave labor in his factory. He soon realized the horror that the Nazis were perpetrating on the Jews and set out to save as many of them as he could through bribery, trickery and any other means he could dream up.

The movie contains numerous heart-wrenching scenes, but the one that affected me most occurred near the end of the movie. Schindler had saved many hundreds of Jews and escaped to Switzerland with a good number of them. Once he was safe he had time to reflect. In this poignant scene just after crossing the border, he lamented bitterly that he had not saved more of them. He could have sold this trinket or that bauble—each item counting as a life he could have and should have saved. That scene, above all, moved me to tears. I realized that I did not want to come to the end of my life lamenting that I could have done so much more for souls.

The bad news is that all I have to offer for souls are cheap bits of brittle coal. Geologists now say that diamonds probably do not come from coal. But in this case, the science doesn’t really matter. The good news is that God can and does turn coal into diamonds.

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7 responses

  1. Pingback: Musings – Take No Thought What Ye Shall Speak | The Next Right Step

  2. Thank you for this clear reflection that you shared from your own heart. When I got to the end of it and you mentioned that you didn’t want to come to the end of your life knowing that you could have helped save more souls.
    This was such a strong confirmation for me. I say this only because for the past few weeks. I would randomly get such an urge,if you will, to please God in all things of my life. To cross every T to dot every I and to cross the finish line of my life as He alone has destined for me. I just don’t want to miss a beat. I’m just living my days as best I can. Lots of ups and downs but I am surrendered to His ways. The desire to fulfill all I’m here to do in my life for Heaven

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    • It is so beautiful to fulfill God’s plan for us. When we do the best we can–in him–he will make up the difference. He makes it easy. The only thing to watch for is not to descend into scrupulosity where it all depends on you. Do what is possible and leave the rest to him. Praised be Jesus!

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  3. I am trying to develop the habit of saying Holy Spirit guide my tongue, before speaking, so I can be a conduit to fellowship to God. Every conversation has that potential in this troubled world. Every heart is heavy, even though we appear jovial. We all sense the malevolent spirts around us.

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  4. Beautiful Janet, I remember in my youth how I would tell others how they should be good Christians. As I grew, I found they weren’t listening and I was very frustrated. years later I realized I lost this sense of perfection I harbored and realized I had somehow become one of those that I had wrongly judged as being wrong. Still older I would reflect on these things and find they are doing much much better, I seek to be as fine a Christian as they. To love Jesus and my neighbors as they do and then did I realize all these years later that it wasn’t they who changed but I, I changed. The Joy of it all is that Jesus took a know it all someone like me, turned me into a holy mackerel the older I get the less I know christian. That’s when the reality of wisdom finally lays over me like a fine blanket of warmth when I then say…Hmmm, I don’t know, so this must mean it’s Jesus work not mine, lets take great comfort in that and just stay warm under the blanket till his work is done.

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