He almost threw it away. It looked like a worthless piece of glass. It certainly didn’t look like a priceless gem.
What mine supervisor Frederick Wells found in 1905 in South Africa, however, turned out to be much more than just a piece of glass. The Cullinan diamond, as it came to be known, is the largest diamond ever found - just over 3,100 carats – about 1.3 pounds! Soon after it was found, the Cullinan diamond was purchased, still uncut, for $800,000 to serve as a birthday present for King Edward of England.
Later, the stone was cut into 9 major gems and over 100 smaller stones. The largest gem from the original, the Cullinan I, is a pear-shaped stone of 530.2 carats which is now known as the Star of Africa and resides in the royal scepter of England. Its estimated value is $400 million! And, that’s just the largest stone from the original. The Lesser Star of Africa came from the same stone. It’s a not-too-shabby 317 carats. The results of that one rock are valued at over $2 billion!
All that stunning value from something that was almost discarded and ignored! In a similar way, roughly half of Americans have glanced at a priceless treasure and casually dismissed it as worthless. They are the 150 million Americans who ignore church.
Jesus said that 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” (Matthew 13:44). While the “kingdom of heaven” is perhaps broader than just the church, the apostle Paul clearly links the two. Of followers of Jesus, Paul says that God has “brought us into the kingdom” (Colossians 1:12).
So, why do some not see great value in church? Maybe they haven’t looked closely. Because he was looking for value, the mine superintendent, like the man finding buried treasure, discovered what was not immediately obvious. If you aren’t in church, look more closely to discover the hidden value.
Perhaps some don’t see value in church because at first glance, it doesn’t look like much. Those of us in church need to do our part to cut and polish and make it shine so that the value is more easily seen.
What a tragedy if the Cullinan diamond had been dismissed as a useless trinket. What a greater loss if God’s incredibly valuable hidden treasure goes unnoticed.