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The difference in knowing and loving

by Mike Durbin

PLYMOUTH, MI – Diamonds are etched in American culture as a symbol of love. As soon as a man drops to one knee and begins to open a small velvet box, we all know what is about to happen.

I saw that scene played out over and over again during our annual Hallmark Christmas movie binge. Several times I looked at my bride as the familiar scene unfolded - she was smiling every time.

I was reminded recently of one of the most famous diamonds of all - the Hope Diamond. Contrary to its name, the Hope Diamond is known for the supposed curse that it brings. One of its owners, Evalyn Walsh McLean, received the diamond as a gift from her husband. Not long after that, her husband, son and daughter all tragically died. She supposedly would not sell the diamond to keep it from causing suffering to anyone else. It was found in a shoe box under her bed after she died.

Famed jeweler Harry Winston purchased the diamond from her estate, and ultimately donated it to the Smithsonian Institute where it remains to this day. Winston sent the rare diamond with a history going all the way back to the 1600’s to the Smithsonian in a box wrapped in brown paper through registered mail. The diamond is currently valued at a whopping $350 million dollars!

I was intrigued by Winston’s generosity so I searched his name on the web and learned that he was called, “the King of Diamonds.” His name is even mentioned in the classic musical, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

A customer entered Winston’s store in New York City to buy a special diamond. One of his salesmen, his most knowledgeable one, waited on the customer. He went to the vault to get the unique diamond the customer sought. The salesman talked about the rarity of this particular diamond, its beautiful clarity, and its many unique characteristics. The customer heard all that the salesman had to say, and decided not to purchase the precious stone.

“As the man was leaving the store, Henry Winston said, ‘Excuse me, do you mind if I personally show you the diamond myself?’

The man said, "No, I don't mind. I've come a long way. I'd be willing to look at it one more time." Winston took the diamond out. He didn't talk about clarity and cut. He talked about its beauty, its unique color and the joy of ownership. He talked about the pleasure that this diamond brings to people who see it. Within a few minutes the man was writing out a check for the full value of the diamond.

As he was writing out the check, he said, "Mr. Winston, I am puzzled. That same diamond was shown to me only a few minutes ago. I didn't want it. You showed that diamond to me and something changed. Why am I buying the diamond from you?"

Harry Winston said, "The man who showed you the diamond first is my most knowledgeable salesperson. He understands the color, cut and clarity of diamonds. He knows more about diamonds than anyone in the store, myself included. But I would double his salary if I could just give him something I possess. You see he knows diamonds, but I am in the business because I love diamonds" (Source unknown).

The biggest purchase of my young adult days was the diamond engagement ring I gave to Shar when she agreed to be my bride. I know as much about diamonds today as I did then - hardly anything. The real jewel in my life was not the ring I placed on her finger, but the person who wore it. Happy Valentine’s Day Shar!



Mike Durbin is the State Evangelism Director for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before joining the state convention staff, Mike served as Church Planting Catalyst and Director of Missions in Metro Detroit since 2007. He also has served as a pastor and bi-vocational pastor in Michigan, as well as International Missionary to Brazil.


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