Monday, January 14, 2013

Motivational Monday: The Parable of the Stones

Many years ago (in the summer of 1995 to be exact), while I was working at a Bible Camp in northern Manitoba, I came across the story below in a kid's storybook, written by Max Lucado.  The book was called, Tell Me the Secrets, and the camp director's daughter and I used to spend hours reading this book together.  My favourite story from the book was called, The Parable of the Stones, which follows below.  Just a bit of a side-note . . . at camp there was a companion book to Tell Me the Secrets, called Tell Me the Story, which was also excellent.  Unfortunately, it appears that these books are no longer in print, and if I ever want to get my hands on them, I'll have to pay triple what they were originally sold for.  I would really like these books for my coffee table . . .
Front CoverProduct Details
The Parable of the Stones
Max Lucado
I must warn you, reader; before you begin. These words are ancient jewels mined from the quarry of my life. Read them only if you dare treasure them. For it would be better to never know, than to know and not obey.

The hand which writes them is now old, wrinkled from the sun and labour. But the mind which guides them is wise -

Wise from years
Wise from failures
Wise from heartache.

I am Asmara, merchant of fine stones.

I am a seller of stones. I travel from city to city. I buy jewels from the diggers in one land and sell them to the buyers in another. I have walked days through desert heat. I have dined with kings. I have drunk with paupers. My hands have held the finest rubies and stroked the deepest furs. But I would trade it all for the one jewel I never knew.

I have never known true love.

I have known embraces. I have seen beauty. But I have never known love.

If only I’d learned to recognize love as I have learned to recognize stones.

My father taught me about stones. He was a jewel cutter. He would seat me at a table before a dozen emeralds. “One is true”, he would tell me. “The others are false. Find the true jewel.”

I would ponder – studying one after the other. Finally I would choose. I was always wrong.

“The secret”, he would say, “is not on the surface of the stone; it is inside the stone. A true jewel has a glow. Deep within the gem there is a flame. The surface can always be polished, but with time the sparkle fades. However, the stone that shines from within will never fade.”

With the years, my eyes learned to spot true stones. I am never fooled. The stones I purchase are authentic. The gems I sell are true. I have learned to see the light within.

If only I’d learned the same about love.

But I’ve been foolish dear reader, and I’ve been fooled.

I’ve spent my life in places I shouldn’t have been, looking for someone with sparkling eyes, beautiful hair, a dazzling smile and fancy clothes. I’ve searched for a woman with outer beauty, but no true value. And now I am left with emptiness.

Once I almost found her. Many years ago in Madrid, I met the daughter of a farmer. Her ways were simple. Her love was pure. Her eyes were honest. But her looks were plain. She would have loved me. She would have held me through every season. Within her was a glow of devotion the like of which I’d never seen since.

But I continued looking for someone whose beauty would outshine the rest.

How many times since have I longed for that farm girl’s kind heart, her sweet smile, her faithfulness? If only I’d known that true beauty is found inside, not outside. If only I’d known, how many tears would I have saved?

I’d trade in a moment a thousand rare gems for the true heart of one who would have loved me.

Dear reader, heed my warning. Look closely at the stones before you open your purse. True love glows from within and grows stronger with the passage of time.

Heed my caution. Look for the purest gem. Look deep within the heart to find the greatest beauty of all. And when you find that gem, hold onto her and never let her go.

For in her you have been granted a treasure worth far more than rubies.

Seek beauty and miss love.

But seek love and find both.

"The following is a commentary by Angela Lang, in response to Max Lucado's Parable of the Stones.  You can read more of her thoughts here on her blog.
We’re taught to look at the superficial and make decisions based on that. In our hurried world we don’t have the time to look closely. And so we rely on cursory glances and fleeting impressions and we make our decisions. Decide in haste. Repent at leisure.

What have we missed?

Father, teach us to look closely, to see to the heart of things. Show us how to look past the superficial, the pretty exteriors. Give us the wisdom to see circumstances and people as they really are. Don’t let us be deceived by the temporal, transient and inconstant. Help us to make decisions that are right for us, decisions that are guided by You.

We pray that we our hearts learn to be grateful for what we do have instead of constantly seeking for something better, faster, shinier, prettier. We pray that our people begin to see the inner glow in our nation and the potential which lies within her.

Let us not be foolish following after things You have not set aside for us, and wasting our time, our lives, on something of no value.

Reveal our blessings to us and let us treasure what You have already blessed us with.

In Jesus’ name, Amen."

“Do not let your beauty be
That outward adorning of arranging the hair,
Of wearing gold,
Or putting on fine apparel;

But let it be the hidden person of the heart,
With the incorruptible ornament
Of a gentle and quiet spirit,
Which is very precious
In the sight of God.”

1 Peter 3:3,4

No comments: