Jesus in the Rough

Ever hear of the Crater of Diamonds State Park? Me neither, until Melchi Ponniah shared a Washington Post piece with me. This unique park in Arkansas “allows visitors to hand-sift 37 acres of plowed earth for the chance to take home a natural diamond — usually around a quarter of a carat and often found daily” ( 

What’s not to like about a park like that!

On Labor Day Kevin Kinard, who has been coming to the park since he was a kid, went with a group of friends to this ancient volcanic field in hopes of finding some gemstones. When the expedition was over the 33-year-old and his companions exited the park, stopping by the visitor’s pavilion. One of his friends went inside hoping she had found a genuine stone. Kevin decided to wait outside since all he was taking home was what was obviously just a piece of glass. But curiosity got the best of him and he stepped into the pavilion. “What about this one?” he asked an attendant.

“This one” turned out to be the second-largest diamond find in the state park’s history—a 9.07-carat brown diamond the size of a marble. “‘I honestly teared up when they told me,' he said. ‘I was in complete shock!’” (ibid). 

What is it worth? Back in 2015, a smaller “8.52-carat diamond found at the park was valued at around $1,000,000 after it was cut into a 4.63-carat triolette.” Kevin’s gem is bigger! 

“Lucky visitors who do find diamonds are typically asked to name the stones, and Kinard named his in honor of friends who visited the park with him on Labor Day — the Kinard Friendship Diamond” (ibid). 

A diamond in the rough—turns out to be the truth of Calvary as well. That fateful Friday as sunset neared, who there at the dusty foot of Jesus’ cross could possibly have fathomed the value of the One hanging there dying? By far the vast majority of gawkers and gapers returned home that Sabbath eve, unmoved and untouched by Him who was “God in the rough.”

This Friday evening and Sabbath morning we will share the joy of Calvary’s Crown Jewel, known and adored by the universe now as King of kings and Lord of lords. So why not gather with those you love Friday evening as the Sabbath draws near—sing or play the songs of the cross on your phone or laptop—read again the story of Jesus’ kneeling by our feet to bathe our souls clean (John 13)—grab a pan or bucket of warm water and wash the feet of your family, your visiting friends—and as you towel those feet dear to you, breathe out a prayer for God’s outpoured blessing upon his or her life.

Then on the morning of the Sabbath (9/11:45 AM) let us join together with our sealed packets of communion emblems (the bread and the cup), that we might partake with each other (whether in person or online). We will eat and drink in adoration of the blessed Savior who promised, “‘Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me and I in them’” (John 6:56). We will eat and drink with our Lord Himself at His table. And like Kevin Kinard, our eyes will tear up with the realization that we have held “the Calvary Friendship Diamond” in our hands and heart for a while.

PS—if you wish to celebrate that Friendship Diamond on live stream at home, please pick up as the sealed communion packets at the church office before Friday noon.