The beggar and the King

Elisabeth Elliot tells us a story about a beggar and a King.

A beggar was sitting at the side of the street with his hat outstretched asking for money.

Then he noticed that the King himself was coming, complete with his whole entourage. This was his lucky day! How could the King refuse to give him something?

So he stretched out his hat. But the King, instead of giving something, asked for something! The beggar was surprised and shocked. But wanting to be a loyal subject, he looked into his hat and fished out three small grains of rice and gave them to the King who smiled and went on his way.

At the end of the day, the beggar looked into his hat to see what was there after his full day of begging. To his amazement, there, in the place where the three grains of rice had been, were three small grains of pure gold!

At that moment he realized what had happened. When he gave the King the three grains of rice, the King had mysteriously replaced them with a greater gift.

Considering this, and considering his own initial reluctance to give, the beggar thought, ‘O, how I wish I had given him all!’

In this story, you and I are the beggar, and Jesus is the King.

How often do we hesitate to give him our time, our talents, our service, our money, our energy and our courage? Maybe we think it’s because it will cause us to lose something. We think we’ll lose something of temporary value, when we’ll really gaining something of eternal value. But as it says in Acts 20:35: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

He gives us so much more than we give him.

‘O, how I wish I had given him all!’

Don’t hesitate to be generous to God and others. God gives us so much more than we give him.

By Matthew Ruttan

  • Today’s story is modified from the version Elliot tells in The Path of Loneliness.


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