Sermon Illustrations

"One day, a long time ago South Africa, an old man was kneeling, digging in a river bed. He was a gold prospector, and had been for many years. Every now and then he had found a little bit of gold, not enough to make him rich - just enough to provide him with food and drink for a week or two and to keep him digging for a few weeks more.

The river he was digging in now was quite new to him, and there were more signs than usual of the presence of gold. He was quite excited gripped by the old gold fever, but, once again he found little of substance.

As the dig neared its end, he found himself exhausted and discouraged. He was just about to go home when he saw some pebbles. He liked the look of them, so he slipped them into his pocket, there were about a dozen of them. At home he got out a tin and put the pebbles into it.

It was filled with special things, letters from his son, a photo of his wife who had died some years before, the collar from a dog who had lived with him, but had died 18 months earlier. He put the tin back on a shelf in a cupboard and forgot about it.

Another ten years went by and he still hadn`t made that longed for gold strike. And now he was very old, and ill, with no money to pay for a doctor - and so he died.

A few days later the police came to his house. They looked through his belongings to see if there was anything they could sell to pay for his funeral, but found nothing of any value. Even his home was just an old wooden hut dropping to pieces.

And then they found the tin. As one of them looked through it, he gasped with surprise. "Look at this" he said, and the others came and looked. He was pointing to the pebbles the old man had placed in that tin 10 years before. "They`re uncut diamonds!", he said, "They`re worth a fortune"!

The old man had been very rich, but had died thinking that he was very poor, because he hadn`t looked closely enough at what he thought were just ordinary pebbles. He`d spent the whole of his life searching for riches, but had missed seeing that those pebbles were the answer to his longings".