His Gifts Are for Diamonds

Deep in a mine, the pressures were relieved as the mining tools gnawed, raked, pulled, piled and loaded the coal. Nothing special to look at it. It is all black, some shiny spots, some powdery spots, some hard spots some soft, nothing special. As it was ripped out without respect, a collector pushed the coal without regard onto a conveyor. The conveyor took notice of the weight but nothing else as it groaned to move the coal upward from the age old home of cool, non-descript darkness. Shaft buckets received the black, dry nuggets and lifted them without recognition to the surface hundreds of feet above. Without hesitation, the coal was dumped onto other conveyors. The conveyors lifted the coal into the sky and then without acknowledgement, turned back, leaving the coal to fall onto a pile. The pile of black, cool, dry coal grows each minute, every day, week into month, making years. WHY? To be burned? To become power when fire and air mixed together after a crusher reduces the coal to a rough powder? Or to be chucked by dirty hands into pot bellied stoves? Or to be dropped onto fires for melting metals that will adorn necks, or ears, or pockets, support offices in skyscrapers, or heavy loads on wheels, or beverages in cans, and carry voices for phones, or power for appliances, or tension for bridges? No one remembers the coal except those who gnaw it from its rest in the belly of the earth. Or does someone remember?

The coal, under tremendous pressure and heat, begins to crystallize, becoming uniformly clear, hard, structured and precious. The black coal becomes clear diamonds. The diamonds are cautiously, carefully, sought in the tailing from other gnawings from the belly of the earth. Eyes search to see when one stone of carbon will have that perfect clarity, color, size --- value. Elementally, there is no difference from the unrespectable coal. Yet the diamond has a dignity respected where ever the power of coal or sun brings light. What is the difference? Why desire one over the other? One so plain and one so special. From one a trained eye sees piles of potential fires of heat. From the other, another trained eye sees the potential for fires of light. The rough crystals yield to the discriminating eye who reject the milky stones, saving only those with some indication of significant volumes of clarity. the value of the stone is yet untested. Then the process of the art weighted hammers, and sturdy vices work in unison under the master's eyes until a rough, clear stone emerges. But the stone is still not at its potential. The stone of clear carbon is carefully cemented to a vice that will position the diamond for more reduction by grinding away one side and then another and then another and then another. Grinding against the dust of other diamonds. Each facet is perfectly set at the right angle to the last and the next. The stone takes shape as the gullet, girdle and crown are cut and polished to perfection. So much care, so much respect, so great the expectations, so little in common to the black carbon with it's lack of density, clarity and value. And then the moment of approval. The diamond is set free of the vice and glue, wiped of dust, held up to the light as though a sacrifice, and what happens. In the dark --- nothing. In the light --- the stone catches the light and warms the artisans heart with cold fire. Fire that does not consume the jewel of cautious, well trained labor. Fire that lasts as long as the colorless light around the stone hits the stone, enters, dances within and exits as a dazzle of blue, red, yellow, orange, violet, and green. WHY? To burn the heart with jealous greed? To show the craft of a perfecting master? I suggest neither. I suggest that the diamonds exists only to glorify the light that surrounds it. To show that the light is not colorless but colorful.

Are you a diamond or coal? On the first Christmas, the pressure needed for perfection was focused on a small baby in a cavern stall on the surface of the earth. The pressure continued and the diamond grew in value as the diamond emerged, needing no cutting, no grinding, no polishing. Perfectly faceted to show the glory of the light of the truth of God. He took the pressure of our sin deep into the belly of the earth. He took the pressure so that we too, by a miracle of the union of grace and faith could be transformed from coal to diamonds. By fellowship, chipped, ground and polished until the facets of our being sparkle. Sparkle not with the light of our own glory, but with the glory of the light that enters us by our allowing His will to dance within and emerge with the variety of colorful gifts. Gifts made from without and displayed from within.