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The Matchless Pearl (a short story of salvation)

(Adapted from a Tract, publisher unknown)

Years ago, an American missionary to India, David Morse, was good friends with a pearl diver named Rambhau. They had spent many hours together and on many occasions the missionary had shared the good news of Christ, but to no avail. His Indian friend always objected, “Your religion is too easy. Perhaps I am proud, but I believe that I must work for my place in heaven.”

The missionary would always respond by explaining that God’s salvation may only be accepted, but never earned, but Rambhau could not see it. He was getting old and he planned to make a pilgrimage by traveling 900 miles to Delhi on his knees. The missionary pled with him and argued that it would do him no good when he stood before God, but the old man was insistent. He said, “The suffering will be sweet, for it will purchase heaven for me.”

A week before he was to leave, Rambhau stopped by the missionary’s home. He brought with him a small strongbox. His eyes misted up as he told Morse that he once had a son. He had never mentioned this before, because it was too painful for him. His son had been the best pearl diver in that part of India. One day as he was diving, he saw the perfect pearl. He went for it, but he had been under water for too long. He got the pearl, but lost his life.

Now, Rambhau opened the box and showed Morse the pearl. He gasped at the rare beauty of it. It was huge. Then Rambhau explained, “You are my best friend and I am going away, never to return. I want to give it to you. It is my most precious possession.”

Suddenly, a thought came to the missionary. He said, “Rambhau, this is a wonderful, amazing pearl. Let me buy it from you. I will give you $10,000 for it.”

Rambhau was stunned. “What do you mean?”

“Okay, I’ll give you $15,000 or whatever it takes. I’ll work all my life to pay for it if I have to.”

“My friend,” said Rambhau, obviously offended, “this pearl is beyond all price. No man in the entire world has money enough to pay what this pearl is worth to me. A million dollars would not buy it. I will not sell it to you. You may only have it as a gift.”

“No, Rambhau,” said Morse. “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 into silence. Finally, he said, “Don’t you see? My only son gave his life to get this pearl, and I wouldn’t sell it for any amount of money. It is worth the life blood of my son. But, I will give it too you. Just accept it as a token of my love for you, my friend.”

Now the missionary was choked and could not speak for a moment. Then, gripping his friend’s hand, he said, “Rambhau, don’t you see? That is just what you have been saying to God!”

The diver looked long and searchingly at the missionary and slowly he began to understand.

“God offers salvation to you as a free gift. It is so great and priceless that no one can possibly pay Him back. It cost Him the life of His own Son. No man can be good enough to earn it or deserve it, because we all have sinned against Him. All you can do is accept it as His loving gift to you.”

As the tears flowed down his cheeks, Rambhau said, “I see it now. I have believed in the doctrine of Jesus for 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. I will accept His free gift of salvation.”

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)