Precious Treasure

Psalm 119:111
Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever:
for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

I wish you could have seen the young lad who stood on our front veranda one hot, steamy, tropical Tuesday afternoon. He hung his curly head, held his hands behind his back, and the usual smile was missing from his face.

"Untung," I said, "what is the matter! Is something wrong!" I had never once seen Untung sad or unhappy. He was always bright, happy and cheerful. Now I thought I saw tears in his eyes. I was right.

"Njonja Madam, I have lost my Bible."

Now, I knew that Untung was a particularly careful boy. He had even shown me the place in his little bamboo-plaited home where he kept his precious treasure: in a small tin, beside a tiny kerosene lamp by his bed-mat. Now his precious treasure was gone. But where?

"Untung, what has happened to it!" I asked, feeling very sorry for the lad.  He looked up, wiping the back of his hand across his eyes. Then he told me.

Untung's brother-in-law was a Muslim, and had four wives, one of whom was Untung's sister, Soemi. He came to see Soemi just once a month, and this time he found Untung reading his Bible. He grabbed the Bible from Unmng, tore it, and threw the pieces into the nearby stream. They had drifted away like paper boats.

The precious Book! Untung had owned it for only a short time; in fact, apart from his school books, it was the first book he had ever owned. He had earned it too. In our Sunday School, we promised a copy of the Scriptures to everyone who learned twenty-five Bible verses. I had typed out the verses and one by one the children had learned them. Untung was one of the first to earn a New Testament, a precious treasure. And now it was gone.

Untung's grief hurt me. I thought of the thousands of Bibles in Australia.  I remembered that we always had been able to read the precious Word of God in our homeland. Untung had had his copy for such a short time. I hesitated for a moment as I saw tth, sad look on the boy's face. Should I go inside and find another copy to give him! But Untung looked up at me and smiled. He looked rather determined, and I asked, "What is it, Untung!"

"Please, Njonja, may I learn another twenty-five verses of the Scriptures so I can earn another book!"

Untung couldn't buy a Bible, His mother was a widow. Besides going to school he helped in the rice fields and fed the goats. He had no spare money. Yet he was willing to memorize God's Word so that he could hide it in his hear and earn himself another copy of the precious Book.

I promised to copy out another twenty-five verses, which I did that same night.  John took them over to Untung's bamboo home, just across the road and down the path a short distance. That was about seven o'clock at night. Next day, just as we had finished our lunch of fried rice, soybeans, and bean sprouts, with banana and papaw, there was a knock at the door.  John went to the door.  In a moment he was back. "It's Untung:" he said. "He wants m see you" I laid aside my plate of papaw, excused myself, rose, and went to the door. There stood Untung, his face wreathed in smiles.

"May I start!" he asked. I looked at the paper in his hand. On it were the verses I had sent to him the previous night! Already! Yes, he learned them Overnight. I brought Untung into the little entrance sitting room and encouraged him to start. He repeated the twenty-five verses to me without a mistake. The Word of God was very precious to Untung. I excused myself for a moment to bring him another copy of the Word of God, in his own lan guage.

How easily we can go to a bookshop and buy a Bible. Yet Untung was prepared to earn his copy of the Word of God to take the place of the copy torn by his Muslim brother-in-law. Untung, with his brother Selamet, when we said good-bye to them, promised, "We shall read this precious treasure every day.

Treasure the Holy Scriptures, for they are "able to make thee wise unto salvation." Obey them, for they say:

GO ye into all the world, and preach the gospel, and

LO, I am with you alway.

Question:  How much do you treasure the Word of God?  Do you read some of the Bible every day?

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