“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Playing Marbles with Diamonds, by Randall D. Kittle


Once while I was praying, I saw a beautifully adorned throne high in the heavenlies. There, right at the foot of the throne, was a large treasure chest made of solid gold and ornately inlayed with a vast array of precious, sparkling gemstones. Then I saw a hand reach down and begin to lift open the lid of this treasure box of heaven. Like a little boy opening a long awaited present, I remember the impatient expectation of wondering what was so precious as to be stored in God’s very own treasure chest. As the lid finally opened wide enough for me to see inside, I was astonished. It was filled not with riches or jewels. There in the treasure box of heaven were God's most precious possessions — His people. The treasure chest of God is filled with the lives of His saints!

We Are God’s Treasure
It says in Scripture that those who follow the Lord's ways are His special treasure.
“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6). This may come as a surprise to many of us because we do not realize how precious we are to God. The living God of the universe loves you with an unfathomable, undeniable love. He not only loves you, He is not ashamed to declare to all creation His love. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” The word “singing” here does not mean singing a lullaby; it is elsewhere translated “shouts of joy!” God is singing over you loud love songs proclaiming His unending love for you!

God prophesied that He would take a people who serve Him, and treasure them as His own special jewels.
“They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels” (Malachi 3:17). As believers, we are the gemstones of God. Diamonds … rubies …emeralds … sapphires and much, much more! We are not merely shiny rhinestones or cubic zirconias. We are the beautiful, brilliant gems of God! “They will sparkle in His land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be!” (Zechariah 9:16-17). We are God’s valuable jewels — worth more to Him than all the rest of His creation!

We Have Been Purchased
No matter how valuable you may think something is, it is really only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. A few years ago one of my nephews learned this valuable lesson when he was collecting baseball cards. He had gotten some old cards from his dad and uncles and was going through his price-book checking what they were worth. Suddenly he let out an excited shout. He had discovered one of the cards was worth $500! The next day his face beamed as he went to the collector's store to sell his newfound treasure. The store owner carefully examined the baseball card, and then, after telling him what a fine card it was, offered to pay him $150 for the card. Looking like someone who had just been cheated he barked back, “but it’s worth $500!” To which the man calmly replied, “Son, if you can find someone willing to pay $500 for that card, sell it to them. To me it is only worth $150.”

The saints of God are truly of untold value to Him, for we have been purchased at a very great price! The full purchase price has already been paid. Revelation 5:9 shows us how much this purchase price was.
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slain, and with your blood You purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” The true Church is a costly church, not in buildings and in earthly status, but because it is the property of Christ bought with His blood. Men may have devalued it, but God hasn’t! Salvation is free but not cheap. We were not redeemed by silver and gold but by the blood of Jesus who gave Himself as a ransom for many.

Some may want to believe in “cheap grace,” but salvation is the costliest thing on earth. It cost our Lord everything to provide it for us, and it costs us everything to possess it. True, salvation is a free gift. But when you become a believer you also become a disciple, and that costs you everything you have! Our Lord never put discipleship in fine print in the contract. He called us to forsake all, take up our cross, deny ourselves, and love Him more than everything else.

God’s Peculiar People
1 Peter 2:9 says
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people.” The King James translates “His own special people” as “His own peculiar people.”

Many of us know far too well people who have used the word
“peculiar” to excuse every strange and irrational behavior done in the name of God. After each new weird outburst they apologetically explain, “Well, we are God's peculiar people!”

But the Greek word here carries no connotation of weirdness, ridiculousness, or foolishness. This word relays the idea of making a ring around something to mark it as one’s own. Christ has made a ring around us and claimed us for Himself. He has placed His "brand" upon our hearts! Like a child's favorite toy which has its owner's name affectionately written upon it, God has put His signature upon our lives. We are His own “special people.”

Playing Marbles With Diamonds
God sees us as His precious jewels, His own valuable and paid for treasures. But how do we see each other in the body of Christ — not just in words, but in action? How do we treat each other? Do we treat other believers like they are each a special and valuable treasure, or have we taken the American discount mentality and applied it to God’s eternal treasures? Have we taken the gemstones of God out of their special display cases and put them on the closeout shelf?

Years ago in that part of Africa where diamonds in the rough were plentiful, a traveler chanced upon some boys playing marbles. On closer inspection he realized that they were playing marbles with diamonds!

Many of us have played marbles with God’s diamonds. We have done this by discounting their lives through the sin of disposition!
Sins of commission are when we do things we should not do. Sins of omission are when we fail to do things we should do. But sins of disposition are when we think or feel toward others in an ungodly manner. God wants more than our actions to be right — He wants our attitudes to be right as well. Jesus told us the importance of having a pure heart attitude in the Sermon on the Mount. He said that not only are wrong actions like adultery and murder sin, but also wrong attitudes like anger and lust in the heart. In the kingdom of God we have no right to harbor ill-will against any other believer. It is not justifiable — it is sin! The sin of disposition is the secret, unnamed sin which is running rampant in the American church!

Having His Love
God is calling us to love each other as He loves us. Jesus instructed us,
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). This is a grand and glorious commandment, but what does it look like when put into action? When we honor others by seeing them through God’s eyes of love, we will forgive the past ... restore in a spirit of gentleness … have grace for the present ... and hope for the future. When we have removed the hidden sin of disposition, we willingly serve others, believing the best about them, encouraging and building them up, and covering their faults and failures!

Jesus went on to tell us why this love is so important.
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). God’s people are to be wearing love for each other as their identifying badge. Tertullian was a historian who observed the Christians of the early church. He marvelled as he wrote of them “See how these Christians love one another!” Only a short time later he gave his life to the Lord and became an active part of the early church.

God forgive us today that we have handled Your precious gemstones as though they were trifles. The attitudes of our hearts have taken that which fills the treasury of heaven and played with them as though they were play money. Help us to no longer play marbles with your diamonds, but to help others see just how precious and valuable they are to You by loving them in our hearts, with our words, and by our deeds!

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