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The Gift of the Present

by Shayla Asselin

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24

I was recently browsing through my brother’s bookshelf and stumbled across a book written by Russell Conwell entitled “Acres of Diamonds.” The title instantly grabbed my attention, so I started reading it. Mr. Conwell told the story of a trip he had taken in the Middle East. While traveling, he had hired an old Arab guide to lead him through the deserts. The guide told him the story of a man named Ali Hafed. Now, Ali Hafed was “contented because he was wealthy, and wealthy because he was contented.” Until one day, Ali Hafed heard the story of a tremendously rich man who had found his wealth in a diamond mine. That night, he went to bed a poor man. He had not lost any of his money, “but he was poor because he was discontented, and discontented because he feared he was poor.” The next day, driven by his discontentment and desire to find a diamond mine, he sold his farm, left his family in the care of neighbors, and went off searching for diamonds.

Months went by and Ali Hafed had found no diamonds. He traveled to many countries, only to be disappointed by what he found - nothing. After spending all he had and finding himself in rags and living in poverty, he found himself in Barcelona, Spain, at the edge of the ocean. Haunted by failure and discontentment, unable to resist the urge, he cast himself in the tides and died.

The story continues with the man who purchased Ali Hafed’s farm. The new owner led his camel to the garden to drink, and while he was waiting, he noticed a bright glimmer from the white sands near the stream. He approached the bright light to find a pretty, unusual black rock. He picked up the pebble, took it inside, and placed it on his mantle as a decorative piece. A few days letter, a visitor stopped by for a visit. The visitor exclaimed, “You have a diamond! Has Ali Hafed returned?” The new owner told the visitor that is was just something he had found in the field outside - it was no diamond. The visitor, confident in his ability to notice a diamond, assured him that he had, in fact, discovered a diamond in his field. Together they rushed out to the field and found many jewels, even more valuable than the first. Mr. Conwell concluded the story by saying, “Had Ali Hafed remained at home and dug in his own cellar, or underneath his own wheat-fields, or in his own garden, instead of wretchedness, starvation, and death by suicide in a strange land, he would have had ‘acres of diamonds.’ For every acre of that old farm, yes, every shovelful, afterward revealed gems which since have decorated the crowns of monarchs.”

How many times have we seen this sad, true story played out in our own lives? We get distracted by the “greener grass” in our friend’s life, and career, and family, and ministry; completely forgetting the blessings in our own life. Familiar are the excuses, “once I finish my degree…, or when I get married…, or when I have a better job,...or when I get older,...or when I’m not where I am now... then I’ll be happy.

If the past isn’t screaming your disqualified, then the future is saying you’re not ready yet.

We always seem to be chasing what’s ahead of us instead of standing still and accepting what God has given us to enjoy right now.

A house, a husband, a child, a degree, a job - none of these things are more fulfilling than God’s will. And sometimes, God’s will is just for you to accept where He has placed you right now, in this season of life. Discontentment is the thief of today’s joy, so take what God has given you now and find fulfillment in it. Don’t stress about things you don’t even have. Prayerfully seek out how God wants you to use the gifts He has given you for this season.

Don’t let the regrets of the past and the desire for the future rob you of the gift of the present.

Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Listen, God is the Creator of today.

Please understand this, today can be just a beautiful and fulfilling as those tomorrows you’ve been praying for when you realize Who the creator is.

We can’t let our discontentment discredit the provision and power of God. He has given us what you need for today. We have “acres of diamonds” all around us.

Today is a gift. We can’t affford to waste it.

It would do us all good to declare over our doubt, discontentment, and disappointment that we are blessed now. We can be happy now. We can live victoriously now. We can be used in the Kingdom of God now. We belong. Here. Now. For such a time as this.

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