I heard this story in one of my husband’s sermons years ago. I still remember it, but it is in my own words.
Many years ago, there was a holy man who traveled through the country side. It was rumored that this wise man had a large precious jewel that was more costly and beautiful than any ever fashioned or found.
Whoever owned this jewel could have riches beyond their wildest dreams. The holy man kept this brilliant stone but never made a display of it and never lived richly.
In fact as a holy man he lived with only bare necessities and traveled the countryside teaching and preaching. He was quite a mystery to many, for he could have lived in a palace and had servants and riches. Yet he chose this humble lifestyle. He was known for his wisdom and the peace he seemed to spread wherever he went.
One day the holy man was sitting by a river tending his fire. Suddenly just over the top of a nearby hill he saw a cloud of dust, indicating that someone was coming rapidly on the dusty roads in his direction. The holy man sat and waited.
Soon a a beautiful steed arrived with a handsome young man clothed in richly colored fabrics accentuated with gold. On the young man’s fingers were golden rings with jewels decorating each one. The very excited young man dismounted and ran up to the wise man. He quickly greeted the holy man.
The wise man noticed the young man’s gold trimmed garments and the golden chains around his neck. The young man in his finery quickly got to the point.
“I have heard for many years of the jewel you carry! The desire to own it has possessed my thoughts and every waking moment of my days. The vision of it has kept me awake at night. I must have the jewel you possess, Sir. I will pay you generously for it. Whatever you want, just tell me!”
The holy man without hesitation pulled the jewel from his bag and handed it to the young man. “It is yours. I give it to you freely. I need no payment. Go in peace.”
Stunned the young man grasped the jewel with great joy. Handled it lovingly then placed it carefully in a padded box. After thanking the holy man, he left.
The next day, the holy man was sitting by his fire, when he saw another cloud of dust coming toward him. Soon the guest was revealed to be the young man from the previous day.
The young man jumped from his horse, knelt before the holy man with bowed head. In his hands was the precious jewel, lifted up to the holy man. The holy man quietly and curiously asked, “How may I help you?”
The young man begged, “Sir, here is the jewel. Please take it back and teach me whatever it is you have that gives you the ability to hand the jewel to me as though it were nothing. For that truly is more precious than any priceless jewel.”
The wise man kindly lifted up the young man and said, “I will gladly help you to find that peace and understanding within yourself.”