Pearl of Great Price
David Morse a American missionary to India became great
friends there with the pearl-diver, Rambhau. Many an
evening he spent in Rambhau's cabin reading to him from
the Bible, and explaining to him God's way of salvation.
Rambhau enjoyed listening to the Word of God, but
whenever the missionary tried to get Rambhau to
accept Christ as his Saviour he would shake his head and reply, "Your Christian way to heaven is too easy for me!
I cannot accept it. If ever I should find admittance to heaven
in that manner I would feel like a pauper there...I like a
beggar who has been let in out of pity. I may be proud
but I want to deserve, I want to earn my place in
heaven and so I am going to work for it."
Nothing the missionary could say seemed to have any
effect on Rambhau's decision, and so quite a few years
slipped by. One evening, however, the missionary
heard a knock on his door, and on going to open it he found Rambhau there.
"Come in, dear friend," said Morse.
"No," said the pearl-diver. "I want you to come with me
to my house, Sahib, for a short time I have something
to show you. Please do not say 'No'''.
"Of course I'll come," replied the missionary. As they
neared his house, Rambhau said: "In a week's time
I start working for my place in heaven; I am leaving
for Delhi and I am going there on my knees." "Man,
you're crazy! It's nine hundred miles to Delhi, and
the skin will break on your knees, and you will have
blood-poisoning or leprosy before you get to Bombay."
"No, I must get to Delhi," affirmed Rambhau, "and the
immortals will reward me for it! The suffering will be sweet for it will purchase heaven for me!"
"Rambhau, my friend you can't. How can I bear you
to do it when Jesus Christ has suffered and died to
purchase heaven for you!"
But the old man could not be moved. "You are my
dearest friend on earth,Sahib Morse. Through all
these years you have stood by me in sickness,in want
you have been sometimes my only friend. But even you
cannot turn me from my desire to purchase eternal bliss....
I must go to Delhi!" Inside the hut Morse was seated
in the very chair Rambhau had specially built for him--
where on so many occasions he had read to him the Bible.
Rambhau left the room to return soon with a small but
heavy English strongbox. "I have had this box for years,"
said he, "and I keep only one thing in it. Now I will tell you
about it, Sahib Morse. I once had a son..."
"A son! Why, Rambhau, you have never before said
a word about him!"
"No, Sahib, I couldn't." Even as he spoke the diver's
eyes were moistened.
"Now I must tell you, for soon I will leave, and who
knows whether I shall ever return? My son was
a diver too. He was the best pearl diver on the coasts of
India. He had the swiftest dive, the keenest eye,
the strongest arm, the longest breath of any
man who ever sought for pearls. What joy
he brought to me! Most pearls, as you know,
have some defect or blemish only the expert can
discern, but my boy always dreamed of finding
the 'perfect' pearl one beyond all that was ever
found. "One day he found it! But even when he
saw it he had been under water too long....
That pearl cost him his life, for he died soon after."
The old pearl diver bowed his head. For a moment his
whole body shook, but there was no sound.
"All these years," he continued, "I have kept this pearl
but now I am going, not to return, and to you, my
best friend I am giving my pearl."
The old man worked the combination on the strongbox
and drew from it a carefully wrapped package. Gently
opening the cotton, he picked up a mammoth pearl
and placed it in the hand of the missionary. It was
one of the largest pearls ever found off the coast
of India, and glowed with a lustre and brilliance never
seen in cultured pearls. It would have brought a
fabulous sum in any market.
For a moment the missionary was speechless and gazed
with awe. "Rambhau! What a pearl!"
"That pearl, Sahib, is perfect," replied the Indian quietly.
The missionary looked up quickly with a new thought:
Was not this the very opportunity and occasion he had
prayed for to make Rambhau understand the value of
Christ's sacrifice? So he said, designedly, "Rambhau, this
is a wonderful pearl, an amazing pearl. Let me buy it.
I would give you ten thousand dollars for it."
"Sahib! What do you mean?"
"Well, I will give you fifteen thousand dollars for it,
or if it takes more I will work for it."
"Sahib," said Rambhau, stiffening his whole body,
"this pearl is beyond price. No man in all the worldhas
money enough to pay what this pearl is worth to me. On the
market a million dollars could not buy it. I will not
sell it to you. You may only have it as a gift."
"No, Rambhau, I cannot accept that. As much as I want
the pearl, I cannot accept it that way. Perhaps I am
proud, but that is too easy. I must pay for
it, or work for it..."
The old pearl-diver was stunned. "You don't understand
at all, Sahib. Don't you see? My only son gave his life to
get this pearl, and I wouldn't sell it for any money. Its worth is in
the life-blood of my son. I cannot sell this but I can
give it to you. Just accept it in token of the
love I bear you."
The missionary was choked, and for a moment could
not speak. Then he gripped the hand of the old man.
"Rambhau," he said in a low voice, "don't you see?
My words are just what you have been saying
to God all the time."
The diver looked long and searchingly at the missionary,
and slowly, slowly he began to understand. "God is
offering to you salvation as a free gift," said the missionary.
"It is so great and priceless that no man on earth can
buy it. Millions of dollars are too little. No man on earth
could earn it. His life would be millions of years too short.
No man is good enough to deserve it. It cost God
the life-blood of His only Son to make the entrance for
you into heaven. In a million years, in a hundred
pilgrimages, you could not earn that entrance.
All you can do is to accept it as a token of
God's love for you a sinner.
"Rambhau, of course I will accept the pearl in deep
humility, praying God I may be worthy of your love.
Rambhau, won't you accept God's great gift of heaven,
too, in deep humility, knowing it cost Him the death
of His Son to offer it to you?"
Great tears were now rolling down the cheeks of the
old man. The veil was beginning to lift. "Sahib, I
see it now. I have believed in the doctrine of Jesus
for the last two years, but I could not believe that
His salvation was free. Now I understand.
Some things are too priceless to be bought or earned.
Sahib, I will accept His salvation!"
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