Acres Of Diamonds, by Jentezen Franklin
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Chosen Books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
If a book takes its title from a well-known story that was likely somewhat cliched when it was first given by the founder of Temple University in Philadelphia, is it redeemed for its borrowing by giving credit to the lack of originality? In reading this book, the author has to decide whether or not it is a good thing or a bad thing that so little of this book is original. If the reader comes to this not expecting a great deal of originality but expecting the author to take familiar materials and present insightful commentary on them, this is a very good book and one that is easy to recommend. The author’s central advice here, and one that is worth taking to heart, is that we have acres of diamonds where we are, largely through the way that God refines us through our troubles and trials, and that if we devote our lives to leaving unpleasant and uncomfortable situations we will never be the people of character who will prosper either in this life or the next. That is some powerful wisdom and even if it is by no means a new message it is one well worth hearing.
This book is about 200 pages long or so and it is divided into twelve chapters. The book begins with an introduction that discusses the importance of life in the moment (1) and then discusses the way that diamonds are formed through intense heat and pressure (2). The author then discusses commands to stay here (3) and provides a variety of stories that encourage the reader to open their eyes (4), deal with the difficulties in their lives (5) and let God take them up (6) and let down their bucket where they are (7). There is a discussion on focusing on the positive (8), taking this job and loving it (9) in stark contrast to all too many people, and learning how to be a hero (10). Finally, the book ends with chapters on winning whatever situation one is in for now (11) as well as looking forward to the kingdom of heaven as the ultimate acres of diamonds (12). After this the book contains an appendix that features the text of the titular story as well as an index.
It is worth noting that just like the familiar acres of diamond story that the author repeats as having come originally from the Middle East, there is also another story here about a man selling his property in Pennsylvania for some amount of dollars and no sense/cents. I had heard this story used once in a sermon when I was in Tampa, and was unfamiliar that the story had been borrowed from this one, but it was pleasing to realize that I was already more familiar with the Acres of Diamond speech and its larger cultural importance than I had previously realized. Overall, this book is a contemporary take on a familiar story that is given honor and credit, and as someone who enjoys learning from the wisdom of the past because it still speaks to us when it provides timeless truths, this is a book that I think will resonate with other readers who are willing to mull and ruminate over the wisdom of the ages and to seek to become worthwhile people through the heat and pressure that are provided in the tests we face in life. We would all do a lot better if we were better able to endure that which we do not like.