The Matchless Pearl

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
April 18, 2000

David Morse an 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…like a beggar who has been let in out of pity. I may be proud, but I want to deserve it; 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 opening 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 world has 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!”

Author unknown - Please Comment if you know the author
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  1. Carole Boshart said:

    What a beautiful illustration of the concept of the “pearl/jewel of great price.” Of course, when you the bible story, you can predict how this story will go. But a great story nonetheless!


  2. We don’t know yet the true value of Jesus’ death on the Cross; but this story puts it in better perspective.


  3. Beautiful! Thank you for reminding us Christ’s free gift of salvation is beyond all cost and measure.


  4. What a beautiful way to get the message! Thanks, Kenny T! Have a great weekend! 🙂 Dave


  5. A beautiful story… My only thought is that we don’t become a Christian when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior … We get on our knees and seek Him to take over our lives, praying that our hearts will be filled with the love of Christ… It is God who decides if and when we repent with absolute saving faith in Christ… Only then, will God grace us with salvation… I base this on my own salvation… I personally made the so called “sinners prayer” over 30 times, before the last and final time, that God saw I really meant what I was praying for…and in His perfect timing God grace me with salvation…

    Blessings in Christ, bruce


  6. Love it. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” Romans 6:23.


  7. So very inspirational and a wonderful picture of the Love of God and His sacrifice for our life! Beautiful!


  8. Beautiful. How like us, though, to believe our meager efforts can reward us with the priceless pearl of salvation.

    (To bruce, yes, it’s true that God “decides” our salvation, but it’s never presented like that in Scripture. It simply says, “repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”)


  9. Bethany said:

    Beautiful! Thank you for taking the time to share this inspiring story!


  10. Thank you for posting this story that the good news of Jesus Christ may reach many! Praying for the salvation of many more!


  11. Yes Christ is the pearl of with a great price, when you find it hold on to it. This is a paraphrase of the scripture.


  12. Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Are you willing to sell all that you posses to buy this pearl of a great price. Well CHRIST paid the price, paid in full.


  13. Thank you so very much for this precious post! The tears have been rolling down my cheeks as I have been reading it, and I hope to read it to my children in the next day or so. I cannot thank you enough for this!


  14. Lyn said:

    In 1973 or 74, the Children’s Bible Hour out of Grand Rapids Michigan broadcast a dramatization of this story. My dad recorded it on his reel to reel and we listened to it many times. It is a story that is etched deeply on my memory.

    I wrote to them a few years ago, and they put the story in their archives, though I can’t seem to find it now. You might find out the source of that story from them.

    Thank you for the walk down memory lane. I enjoyed your blog and will follow.



  15. 🙂 😀 Awesome! Take care and have a blessed weekend! 😀


  16. what a great story!. I’m so touched. a priceless Salvation only through the Lord Jesus Christ!.


  17. Hi Kenny, of course I love this story! How many people are like this old man trying to earn their salvation, not realizing it is God’s precious gift to us? Thank you for the like on my blog. It is always appreciated.


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