Imagine having one-carat diamond valued at $5,000 and someone offering to purchase it for $1.89. After a semi-polite chuckle, you decline the offer, saying, “Sorry, I am giving the diamond to a missionary in Uganda to help fund his work.”
A year later you are traveling to Uganda, but your plane goes down over the Sahara. You are injured, but alive, trekking through the blistering heat. The hot winds pelt your exposed skin with sharp granules of sand as the moisture from your body is literally being sucked out by the elements.
You are weak and delirious with thirst, when you come upon a nomad atop his camel. He has several canteens of water, but he is shrewd and wants to trade. Your paper and plastic currency mean nothing. Reluctantly, you reach into your pocket for the diamond. You watch as he rides off holding it up to the sun, admiring the clarity with a toothless grin.
As you take your first sip you remember the cost for a bottle of water back home: $1.89. You painfully laugh at the irony.
This hypothetical is known as the “diamond-water paradox” posed in the late 1800s. Water is absolutely necessary to humanity, but its price is low; yet, diamonds are completely unnecessary, and their price is high.
We often treat God’s grace this same way. It is essential to our eternal existence, yet we value it at $1.89 because we know there is great supply. However, we treat the things of this world as treasure, knowing all the while that they are worthless in eternity.
God addresses this in Romans 6:1-2 when Paul writes, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”
During a season where it so easy to get caught up in idolizing the temporal, take time to remember the priceless value of God’s grace. It is that grace by which the value of all other things should be measured.