Who doesn’t love a great story? A couple weeks ago I read one which impacted me greatly. It is so relative to the topic we’ve been studying in our church’s women’s Bible study that I just had to tell it to them on Wednesday. So, I thought I’d share it with you as well. It’s an old legend from India which goes as follows:
A beggar man was sitting on the side of the road waiting for someone to toss him a coin or two. In his hands, he held a bowl of rice. From a distance, he heard the sound of horses trotting along pulling a carriage behind them. He suddenly realized it was the carriage of one of the royal princes, the Rajah. Anxiously he hoped the Rajah might throw him a coin. As the carriage came closer, the Rajah unexpectedly stepped down and approached the beggar.
Upset, the beggar grasped the bowl of rice closer to himself. Hesitantly, he picked out one grain of rice and handed it to the Rajah.
“Thank-you,” said the Rajah, “Now, give me your bowl of rice.”
The beggar felt insulted and angry and clutched the bowl even closer. After a few moments, he parted with one more grain of rice.
The Rajah thanked him again and threw something into the bowl. Then he returned to his carriage and left.
The beggar looked down at his rice and noticed something sparkling in the sunlight. He reached into the bowl and held up a single grain of pure gold. Startled, he looked again and found another golden grain! Excitement filled his being as he searched the bowl for more gold, but alas, there was none. As reality began to sink in, he discovered for each grain of rice he had been willing to give to the Rajah, the prince had given back an equal amount of gold.
“Wait, please!” the beggar cried as the carriage drove away. “If I had only known what you would do for me, I would have given you all of my rice!”
But it was too late.
This story has powerful implications for all people. It reminds us that God, the King of Heaven, has extended an invitation, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live…the Holy One of Israel…He has endowed you with splendor. Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:1-3a, 5c-6)
God’s desire is that I surrender my whole life to Him. I cannot pick and choose which “grains” of my life I will hand over to Him and expect to receive the full abundance of blessings and promises that He has in store for me. How often I hesitate and agonize over some areas of my being and stubbornly hang onto them because I cannot trust Him to replace them with something much better…something more satisfying and beyond my imagination. Why do I find it so difficult to let go and enjoy the “richest of fare” that is waiting for me? I wonder how many times I have shrunk back instead of thrilling in the nearness of His loving presence.
What are the riches that God longs to give you and me? Here are a few that come to mind:
· Eternal life (John 3:16)
· The right to be called a child of God (John 1:12)
· A place reserved in Heaven (John 14:2)
· Fullness/abundance of life (John 10:10)
· The peace of God (John 14:27)
· Deliverance from the darkness of sin (John 12:46)
· Answers to prayer (Mark 11:24)
· Eternal glory (II Corinthians 4:17)
· His power in our weakness (II Corinthians 12:9)
· Grace to the humble (James 4:6)
· The ability to resist the devil and temptation (James 4:7; I Corinthians 10:13)
· Forgiveness of sins (Acts 10:43)
What a feast He intends for us to enjoy both now and forever! The extent of our joy, however, is dependent on how willingly and completely we surrender the grains of our “bowl of rice” to the Lord Jesus Christ. For the past couple days the song, “Take Me Over”, by Michael W. Smith has been my prayer,
“Jesus, Jesus, Take me over now …I surrender
Everything I have, I lay it down…All of me.”[i]
Until next Sunday,