Jewels and Icons

Hey there, how are all y’all?   Hope everyone is having a beautiful day.  Y’all know I’m a little different in how I do things, so you won’t be too surprised at this story and where it leads.  On my last trip to Israel, we went to the diamond factory, where nearly all of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished.  It was a pretty cool place.  We were led on a tour where we learned about the diamond mining, grading, cutting and polishing activities.  Find a cool drink and a comfy spot, and just put your feet up for a minute. 

We were on a bus at the end of a long day, and I was tired.  I was ready to lie down for a bit before dinner.  I’m not a shopper, and jewelry by and large doesn’t do a thing for me.  It has never interested me to have diamonds, pearls, or jewels sitting in a box.  When they told me we were going to the diamond factory, I was not enthused.  I mean, really?  On a Pilgrimage? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with jewelry or shopping for it.  But that was definitely NOT what I went to Israel for!

Our guide told us about the major diamond mining areas, the major diamond markets, and then told us that nearly all the diamonds in the world come through Israel to be cut and polished.  I had no idea!  After our very educational tour, we were led to the show room where there were cases and cases of jewelry made of diamonds and precious stones, as you can imagine.

I discovered something else there.  The Eilat stone.  It is the national stone of Israel, and you cannot find it anywhere else.  It is a beautiful stone, sort of emerald, jade and turquoise mixed, hard to describe.  I found a necklace I really liked, and they discounted it further for me, so I bought it.  I’m stringing it into a rosary as a memory of my trips there and all that God did for me on those two trips.  The first one absolutely changed my life, and is truly the reason I ended up in Ohio.

They had a second room that had things besides the higher quality diamonds and gemstones.  One could buy all sorts of less expensive things there.  As I rounded the corner, I was immersed in a sea of Byzantine icons.  One in particular caught my eye, the Annunciation.   That story in Scripture had been presenting itself to me for months, and I was still digging out what the Lord was trying to tell me.  The piece was beautiful, so I purchased it.  Yep, you read that right.  I bought a religious icon at a diamond factory store.

The whole experience made me ponder jewels, gems, diamonds, and their mention in Scripture.  The kingdom of heaven is the pearl of great price. (Matthew 13) The worth of a good woman is far above jewels.  (Proverbs 31)  The vestments of the High Priest in the Old Testament was set with a dozen precious stones.  (Exodus Chapters 28 and 39)  Wisdom is said to be more precious than jewels. (Proverbs chapter 3)  In the book of Revelation, the gates of heaven are made from precious stones or pearls.

If the things of heaven are worth more than jewels, what should we do to obtain them?  How hard should we search for them?  In the parable of the pearl of great price, Jesus tells us that the merchant sold everything he had to obtain that one thing.  What would it look like if we were to ‘sell everything we owned’ to gain that one thing?

I’m not suggesting we liquidate our belongings.  But I am suggesting we take a look at how we spend our time and money to see what our hearts truly value.  What could we change to give time to pursuing a relationship with God?

The two biggest obvious things Americans seem to spend their time with are internet and TV.  We may spend hours every day on the computer, on our phones, on our tablets, just surfing to see what’s there.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m really that bored!  If I am, what should I be doing differently?  Maybe I should shut off the computer for 30 minutes and read either the Scriptures or a spiritual book.  Maybe I should spend some time after that praying about what I just read.  Maybe I’m simply tired, and need to rest.

We all have something that we could give up for a half hour a day in order to gain a solid relationship with God.  If you don’t know where to start, find a pastor or priest.  They will be glad to help you find the Lord, and begin that precious relationship!


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