By Pastor Julie Sanders, Tarkio/Westboro United Methodist Churches

Just imagine that a man is given a present by one of his friends. The present is neatly wrapped in a small box with a pretty bow on it. Imagine that the man opens the box and discovers a huge diamond inside. He is surprised that his friend would give him such an extravagant gift, and thanks him for his generosity. Afterward, the man takes the gift home, removes the diamond from the box, and throws it into the trash can!

Unbelievingly, he carefully puts the box on top of the fireplace mantle, making sure the bow is straight and looking as nice as possible. When friends and family come to visit, he proudly shows them the box and the ribbon. He tells them how the box once carried a precious diamond, but he threw it away because he liked the wrapping on the box better.

How often do we focus on the outward appearance, and fail to see what is within? In this story, the box represents the physical elements of this world, such as the body, our possessions, our desires, and things like that. The diamond represents the spiritual things of this world, such as; the soul, kindness, generosity, and all those kinds of things.

So many times, we work so hard to display the box to the world. We feed it, paint it, want it to be attractive at all times. But, sadly, we forget the diamond inside the box. We forget that the diamond is worth so much more than the box. How crazy to spend all our energy and attention on the box and neglect the diamond.

My hope and prayer for each of you is that you find the worth of the diamond within the box, so much so that you put the diamond on display, rather than the box. Blessing.