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Acres of Diamonds

One of the most interesting Americans who lived in the 19th century was a man by the name of Russell Herman Conwell (1843-1925). He was a lawyer for fifteen years before becoming a clergyman.

One day a young man told him that he wanted a college education but could not afford the cost. At that moment, Dr. Conwell decided what his aim in life was in addition to his ministry. He vowed to build a university for deserving students who had no financial resources. His challenge was to find the millions of dollars needed to fund such an endeavor. For Dr. Conwell, and anyone with a clear life purpose, nothing could stand in the way of his goal.

Several years earlier, Dr. Conwell was intrigued by a true story with its ageless moral. The story was about a farmer who lived in Africa and through a visitor’s story became tremendously excited about looking for diamonds. Diamonds had already been discovered in abundance on the African continent. This particular farmer became so excited about the idea of millions of dollars worth of diamonds, that he sold his farm to head out to the diamond line. For years he wandered all over the continent constantly searching for diamonds and wealth which he never found. Eventually, completely broke, he threw himself into a river and drowned.

Meanwhile, the new owner of the farm picked up an unusual rock, the size of a country egg and placed it on his mantle as a sort of curiosity. A visitor stopping by, viewed the “rock” and informed the farmer that indeed, the curiosity on the mantle was likely the biggest diamond he had ever seen. The new owner said, “Heck, the whole farm is covered with them”- and sure enough, it was.

The farm became the Kimberly Diamond Mine…the richest the world has ever known. The original farmer was literally standing on Acres of Diamonds until he sold his farm.

Dr. Conwell continued to tell the story and speak to its moral. Each of us is right in the middle of our own Acre of Diamonds, if only we realized it and developed the ground we stand on before charging off in search of greener pastures. Dr. Conwell told his story many times and attracted large audiences. He told the story long enough to have raised the money to build the college for underprivileged, deserving students. In fact, he raised nearly six million dollars for the school he founded-Temple University in Philadelphia.

“Opportunity does not just come along, it is there all the time, and we just have to see it.” ~Earl Nightingale

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