There was once a family of stones living together at the side of a path which was beside a riverbed. They were quite content and satisfied with their lot in life, they enjoyed both the sunshine and the rain. They were happy to be in close proximity to one another on the ground where they were frequently trodden on (which, of course, was an accepted and expected part of their daily life).
One day a man came and looked very closely at them and took several stones away with him. The man took the stones to his workshop and very carefully examined each one. One of these stones was separated from the rest. This little stone felt quite bereft and alone and did not understand what was happening to it. The man eventually placed the stone into a device where it was tightly held in place and couldn’t have moved itself even if it had been able to.
Wondering why it had been singled out for such treatment, the stone’s dismay turned to horror as the man (who people called “the Jeweller”) began to use a very sharp, transparent little stone to cut away its strong outer shell. What was wrong with him as he was? He had been nicely rounded and had been very good at absorbing the sun’s rays and radiating heat and warmth, but this man was cutting all that outer layer away from him and it was very painful! Eventually the stone was reduced to less than half of its original weight and size. But the work just seemed to go on and on…. The Jeweller slowly worked on the little stone day after day with painstaking accuracy and perseverance, slowly cutting and shaping a diamond by using other diamonds.
Eventually the day came when the diamond was removed from the lathe. But its new found freedom was short-lived. Now it was placed into a holder on a turn-table that spun round and round. This time it was not cutting that the Jeweller was doing, but painful grinding and polishing using the diamond’s dust mixed with oil.
Finally, after months of work, the Jeweller had prepared the small stone for what he intended to use it for and, as he prepared to go home for the night, he put the jewel into his pocket where he thought it would be safe. He was very happy with the clarity and fire in this diamond which was worth all of his effort with it. But as the Jeweller walked home, the movement of the diamond made a small hole in the fabric of his pocket and eventually the little diamond fell through the hole and onto the ground beside a group of stones at the edge of the path.
The sun immediately reflected and shone out of the diamond which had not been in the sun at all since it had been shaped and cut. Now it felt quite different as it saw the sun in a way in which it had never seen it before. It used to absorb and take all the warmth the sun could give it, but now without even realizing it the diamond was spontaneously reflecting and shining out the brilliance of the sun’s rays from within itself. The stones on the ground had never before seen anything like this thing, it was quite painful to look at because of how the sun’s rays radiated from it.
“What are you?” asked one of the smaller stones.
“I am a stone, just like you.” replied the diamond who had not seen the transformation that had taken place since the Jeweller had been working on him.
“No you’re not!” the stone was quick to reply, “You are quite different to us, you are very small and are a completely different color and shape to all of us! And what’s more I can even see through you; you’re definitely not a stone…”
“Oh, but I am indeed a stone, a man called ‘the Jeweller’ has been working on me and has cut and shaped me into what you see before you” answered the diamond.
The stone thought about this and then asked, “Why would a man do that? They just step on us all the time!”
“I don’t know why the Jeweller chose me and decided to cut into me like this. And although it was very painful and difficult, I now feel quite different than I used to… I feel much lighter and somehow much brighter…”
“Why ARE you so very bright?” the stone wondered.
“I’m not entirely sure…” said the diamond who didn’t yet understand what it had been changed into, “Perhaps it is because all of my outer layer has been cut away and that enables the Sun to be reflected from me.”
“Hah!” retorted another stone, “He thinks the sun shines out of him! So how did you get here then?”
“I fell out of the Jeweller’s pocket…” the diamond mumbled, perceiving that his story was neither understood nor believed.
The stones thought this was all very strange! They could see no use at all for such a thing on the ground where they lived. Just think what would happen if one of the men came along barefoot and stood on this bright object when its apex was pointing upwards! It could be positively dangerous. They took pride in the fact that they were not like this strange thing was, they were much bigger and nicely rounded, but this “thing” was little, cold, hard and had many extreme and sharp edges. Whereas they had a smooth, dark exterior which could not be penetrated, this thing was as clear as a raindrop – now what could be the purpose of that in any stone?! It would not be able to take in the sun’s rays as they did. When the sun shone upon the stones they quickly absorbed all its warmth and were each nice and warm exactly as they should be – they argued among themselves – feeling very proud of their humble role in the world. But THIS so-called stone didn’t absorb the sun at all, it simply took the sun’s rays in only to send them straight back out again; it reflected the sunlight which made it terribly bright and painful to look at for too long. Surely the man hadn’t lost it but had thrown it away.
Soon the sun went down and the stones around the diamond became very cold in more ways than one. They began to question the integrity of this foreign object, surely this was a fantastic tale and it could not ever have been an ordinary stone, it was simply trying to fit in with them – undoubtedly with dubious intentions. The diamond, realizing that they would never understand unless they had experienced the cutting and shaping for themselves, remained silent and refused to be drawn into any arguments about the validity of its story.
The small diamond wondered if this was to be his life from now on – living as an alien and stranger to the stones around him that he had once been like and where he had once belonged. The stones clearly didn’t understand him and weren’t about to accept him even though he was made of the same substance as them. And he agreed with all that the stones had said about him; it was true that he was now no good at just absorbing the sun’s rays and was painful to look at, that he was smaller than ever before, and that he had many extreme and sharp edges to him. He did feel lighter and brighter though. Before the Jeweller had worked on him, the sun used to affect only his surface and had never penetrated to deep inside, as it did now. He could also see so much more now than he had ever seen before – he had never truly seen the sun until that outer layer had been cut away.
This was all the result of the Jeweller’s work on him. WHY had the Jeweller made him to be so different; what purpose was there in it all? Did the Jeweller even know that the diamond had fallen from his pocket and would he come searching for it? The little diamond wasn’t sure, after all, he was just an ordinary little stone; and of what use was he to the Jeweller? Some of the other stones that the Jeweller had selected along with him had long ago been cut and then used as parts of tools in his workshop. They had a very important and useful function – although of course what, where and when they were used to cut and shape had nothing to do with the stones themselves; they were simply tools in the hands of the Jeweller. But this little stone… well, he just seemed to need far more work than any other stone and wasn’t being used for anything obvious… except perhaps for keeping the Jeweller busy! Maybe that was all he had been needed for and he had now fulfilled his purpose and been thrown away after all…
When the sun rose the next day, the stones again complained about the brilliance of the sun that was shining out from the diamond; they could hardly see the diamond itself because of the brightness of the sun’s rays shining out of it. But soon their complaining ceased for the Jeweller had quickly realized his loss and had returned, scouring the sides of the pathway, looking for this one precious little stone. It was easily found because of the brightness of the new day’s sun reflecting from it and he was overjoyed to recover his valuable treasure and said “At last, I’ve found you, my precious diamond!” The stones mumbled about how worthless the thing had been and thought the man was very strange to have come back looking for it at all.
The diamond was surprised to see how happy the Jeweller was to have found him again and that he had called him a ‘diamond’. He hadn’t realized how precious and valuable the Jeweller had considered him to be. This made all the agonizing, painful work worthwhile – to be something which brought such joy and delight to this one person who had worked so long and hard with him day after day.
He was now very thankful to be removed from the stones and earth which had once been home to him. It was not his home any longer. No longer was his place on the ground where he could expect to be frequently trodden on without a thought, instead he was now elevated to a place he had not known existed – a place of value in the eyes of the Jeweller because of the work he had personally done on the stone and what he had created with it. The little stone’s home was now with the Jeweller.
When the Jeweller got to his workshop, he immediately set to work. He carefully and tenderly cleansed the diamond from the dust and grime of the earth. Neither the fall nor the stones had been able to damage the diamond; it was very hard. When he was finished he took a piece of jewellery that was already set with some other diamonds and had a place remaining for one final diamond. Gently he placed the purpose-made diamond into the setting and carefully made sure that it was firmly in place and could not fall out or be moved from its setting.
The little diamond could not believe that it had been placed in such a valuable place alongside of others who were so similar to him and who had all experienced the cutting and shaping at the hand of the Jeweller. There was no need to explain to them who or what he was; they knew because they were the Jeweller’s jewels also. THIS was where he belonged – right where the Jeweller had so carefully placed him!
While the diamond could see no practical purpose for he and the other diamonds in this item of jewellery when compared with the diamond tools that the Jeweller needed and so frequently used, he also realized – with deep reverence – that the Jeweller had worked harder and longer on him because of the plans he’d had of placing him exactly here. These diamonds had a use and a purpose just as much as the obviously needed and useful diamonds of the tools. The diamond knew it was a great honour to have been chosen and shaped for this piece of jewellery simply to bring pleasure to their creator even if they did not appear to be doing anything useful apart from looking nice and reflecting the Light. They realized, with delight, that THIS was what the Jeweller had intended – to create something through which he could display and view his own handiwork and skill.
Throughout their life together the jewels were often tenderly wiped and kept clean by the Jeweller. He had created his jewels to reflect and radiate the Light and bring him delight and happiness as fine examples of his own creation. Frequently the Jeweller put these precious jewels away from sight for long periods of time in a soft, dark place along with his other jewellery for safe-keeping. Other times he displayed them or wore them. Occasionally the Jeweller was criticized by people for displaying and showing his jewels; and other times, when they were in their secret place, he was criticized for wasting such wonderful jewels by keeping them hidden away! The people did not seem to understand or respect the Jeweller’s right to do what he wanted with what was his own.
The diamonds didn’t care whether they were seen or not seen by the people because their joy was simply to be wherever the Jeweller wanted them to be and so bring credit and honour to their Designer and Creator. Only the jewels who had been through the long and painful cutting, grinding and polishing knew of the skillful Jeweller’s loving but unrelenting hands. They knew without a doubt that they were nothing but ordinary stones except for him and his work and so they would not take one ounce of credit for their Maker’s work.
When the Jeweller chose to wear or display them, the diamonds were frequently admired and looked at with great appreciation. The little stone couldn’t understand why some of the people who looked at them remarked on their clarity, beauty and exquisite cut as though the diamonds themselves were somehow responsible for it. He realized that he was not responsible for the criticism and misunderstanding of the stones by the pathway any more than he was responsible for the compliments and recognition from the people – all belonged to the Jeweller. HE had made these jewels. And He had made them to be seen, and in admiring them, the people were inadvertently recognizing the work of the Jeweller. And if the jewels were criticized, the Jeweller was the one being inadvertently criticized.
However, the diamonds often felt grieved that their Jeweller did not receive more recognition and credit for his untiring work of love on each of them for they loved him and owed him everything – this new life would not have come into existence for them if it were not for him. Yet the people hardly ever stopped to think or remark on the skill of their Maker who had so carefully chosen, cut and made each little stone into the diamonds they could see. People tended to focus only on what they could see – they were more interested in looking at the creation than getting to know or see the Creator. The diamonds all knew that they were only ordinary little stones who had been chosen and shaped by an extraordinary Man; they were nothing except for what their Jeweller had done. And yet their Jeweller seemed to get very little, if any, recognition and credit for his invaluable work: that of making living stones.
“Then those who feared the Lord talked often one to another; and the Lord listened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who reverenced and worshipfully feared the Lord and who thought on His name. And they shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I publicly recognize and openly declare them to be My jewels, My peculiar treasure.” Malachi 3:16,17