Read Time 13 Minutes
What is the Pearl of Great Price? The Pearls of your life are created by those people and circumstances which, at times, bring the greatest irritation. Our growth comes not by avoiding the person or difficulty, but by learning to respond with love and grace. The effect may be the transformation of an irritant into a lovely Pearl!
One of Jesus’ beloved Parables is known as – “The Pearl of Great Price“. As with all the words Written in Red, there is much to seek and know within the telling.
Matthew 13:45-46 KJV – (Bold and Underline Emphasis Mine)
45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
People, like pearls, come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Most were wrought by the circumstances of their life – many beyond their control. Those who inhabit the world of fine art and jewelry understand, some of the most extraordinary gemstones, like the Pearl, come from the most unlikely places. Their value is often enhanced by the specific waters, temperatures and difficulties to which they are subjected as they form naturally. The creation of the Pearls, though of immense value, comes with great difficulty and irritation to the oyster.
DEFENSIVE . . . OR DEADLY?
Is there anyone in your life you really wish you never had to see or hear from again? We all have those folks continually or occasionally, so the real question is why? Should we assume they’re problem people, misfits and seek to rid ourselves of their company as soon as possible?
Is there a deeper purpose, a point we are missing and a lesson God seeks to teach? The Puffer Fish thrives in the same ocean as the Oyster housing the Pearl, yet without the protective housing they seek other ways to deceive their predators. First, they inflate themselves to appear far larger and more fierce than they are in reality. But, we must never forget, the Puffer Fish is also one of the most poisonous creatures in the sea.
Listen for the still small voice of Holy Spirit to learn when the creature we face is dangerous or merely puffed up in a defensive stance. There is real danger in some who appear quite harmless and the poison inflicted with their words is long-lasting and can be deadly. There is no great glory to be achieved by consuming the poisonous words of those who would intentionally harm us. Be wise as the serpent . . . yet harmless as the dove. Flee from the Lion Fish in your life!
BURDEN OR BLESSING
How often we chafe at the difficult people God brings into our life. When we consider the difficulty these people create, we should ask ourselves why. They are there, sometimes only for a season and, at times, only for a specific reason. This is the source of the oft repeated phrase – “Is this for only a Season or for a Reason?” Its meaning speaks to God’s purpose in allowing the difficulty. A Season may mean the difficulty is for a short space of time and if it’s for a Reason it may continue until the purpose has been accomplished.
Before you become so infuriated and frustrated with a seemingly intractable person, think about what God might be doing in your life through them or in theirs through you. We really want conformity from others with our own thoughts and beliefs. God requires we conform to His Heart! Ask yourself the question . . . Father, what can I learn from this person or situation I could not or did not learn without them?
The source of irritation in our walk through Life with Christ often comes from those who demand we conform to their doctrinal beliefs. This strife is often over issues which are not Salvation specific, and though important, neither lead Unbelievers to faith nor contribute to the growth of young Believers. Quite the contrary both groups become confused and run away from the discord. After all, they assume, if these are mature believers and they behave in this fashion, this is not something they want to emulate.
BE LIKE ME . . . SAYS THE GRAIN OF SAND!
Who can say to the eye, you should be an ear or, You’re only a toe, you don’t matter, for it’s the Big Toe which brings balance. Ask someone who has lost one and they will tell you its value. Either in life or in the Body of Christ, there are no coincidences. Who is there to fix whom? Probably, neither. Experience is a great teacher and God is the author of many experiences. God’s vantage point, His heart and purpose is what we must seek to see. What is God teaching me in and through this person? Perhaps its patience and perhaps its how to really listen to another opinion, diverse from your own.
The purpose of dealing with difficult people is to either change your opinion, modify your understanding or strengthen your position. Perhaps the greater purpose in the experience is to teach you Grace and Love in dealing with those who are seemingly unloveable . . . yet they matter to God . . . therefore, they MUST matter to you!
UNITY OR SUBMISSION?
In life as in the Body of Christ, we interact with people who hold different views on a wide range of topics. The cry of the rabble – those who have the loudest, but not the wisest voice – scream “Unity“. We must unify as a nation, We must unify as a political party or We must unify as a church at all costs. The rabble often resorts to scripture to “shame” the Believer, with absolutely no understanding of the context or purpose of the Scripture they reference. “Be one as we are one“ to the legalist, the liberal or the controller means . . . “Be Like Me”. No, we are instructed to “Be Like Jesus”!
Jesus’ point has nothing to do with Unity in everything, at all cost and everything to do with becoming like Him and like the Father in Purpose and in Spirit.
John 17:20-21 ESV – (Bold and Underline Emphasis Mine)
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
Did Christ mean we should be one like “anyone”? For what purpose are we to be unified? Unity at any cost is merely submission to another’s opinion of right rather than conforming to the Word of God. The final one-world system of anti-Christ will require submission, in opposition to the Word of God.
When the choice appears to be either succumb to the most abrasive or become the most abrasive, we must seek the path Christ modeled. He dealt with confrontation effectively by knowing and speaking simply the Word of God, without rancor or argument.
Matthew 4:4 ESV – (Bold and Underline Emphasis Mine)
4 But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
Matthew 4:7 ESV from Deuteronomy 6:16 – (Bold and Underline Emphasis Mine)
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
Mark 12:16 ESV – (Bold, Underline and Parenthesis Emphasis Mine)
16 And they brought one (a coin). And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.
We are all beautifully and wonderfully made by the hand of the Father. But, He’s not finished with us yet. Our recourse on any issue must reflexively be, His Word for His responses are always succinct, profound and loving but firm. His Words are never harsh, meant to harm or damage and they never contain poisonous barbs.
GOD SACRIFICED HIS MOST PRIZED POSSESSION
The Pearl of Great Price Parable in Matthew has two equally profound meanings. The one most often thought of is the Believer who discovers the Gospel, the Kingdom of Heaven, and leaves everything behind to obtain this perfect Jewel. At first blush, nothing could be more profound, yet look again.
The second and lesser understood message is our point of focus. Mankind, every person, is The Pearl of Great Price in the eyes of God. Our value is so great to the Father, He gave up His most precious possession – His Unique Son, Jesus Christ – to redeem us and bring us home to His Kingdom forever. We are, even now, being changed to be more like the one who paid the ultimate price to redeem us.
In what way are we being changed? Consider the lowly oyster. The invasion into the shell of the oyster by a foreign body, a grain of sand, creates irritation. In an effort to reduce the irritation, the oyster secretes a substance called nacre (NAY-ker) coating the sand to reduce the irritation and contain the invasion. The nacreous coated sand, over time, with a build up of secretion becomes entirely new and beautiful. It is strong, resilient and iridescent . . . we know it as a Pearl.
The interior of the shell itself is now coated with Nacre as well. This thin layer of the shell now becomes a gem in its own right . . . we know it as Mother of Pearl. You have seen the beautiful jewelry with the Mother of Pearl layered shell carved to create rings, earrings or necklaces of exquisite beauty. Even the interior of the rough and serviceable shell has been made a thing of astonishing beauty. God has made all the component parts within the process, undergo not only a change in function, but a change in nature.
The beauty of Mother of Pearl is showcased by removing its many faceted, delicate layers to showcase them in an altogether unfamiliar environment. The process is tedious, arduous and unbelievably rewarding to those with the skill, patience and fortitude to expend the time necessary to showcase this unmatched miracle of God’s Creation.
Believers are the potential Pearl in the oyster right now, but without the grain of sand there will never be a Pearl. The grain of sand in the oyster’s shell, causes the excretion of Nacre, there would be no Pearl of Great Price nor the shell which contains it without this seemingly painful process. The grain of sand is no longer . . . it has been transformed into one of God’s peculiar treasures!
The grain of sand was created to be the irritant and its doing its part. The question is what are we excreting? Our human impatience and pride wants to cast out the sand, to rid ourselves of the irritant. But, what we are designed to do, what Father God desires is for us to excrete the Nacre – the Mother of Pearl – to coat the grain of sand, reduce the irritation and become something naturally and incredibly beautiful, strong, resilient and iridescent.
The purpose for our lives is not to cast out the grain of sand, but to add value by our Godly response. Only God can combine the events and process to create a Pearl. The irritant is doing its job. The question should not be, “How do I get rid of the sand?” But, “What must I produce within me to cooperate with God and become the Pearl of Great Price?”
JESUS BLOOD SACRIFICE . . . BEGAN AT GETHSEMANE!
There is one area around which we must unify – Jesus Christ and His suffering to pay for our sin. The first drops of Jesus’ precious Blood were shed in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before the Crucifixion. As he knelt in the Garden that night, seeking the comfort of His Father, the disciples slept while the Hounds of Hell surrounded Him, creating in Him a fear and dread so great he sweat great drops of blood.
We will never fully understand this night while on earth, but we know He was fully human, yet He knew He was to die by crucifixion, for it had been prophesied. He knew He would be lashed with 39 stripes, beaten beyond recognition, spat upon, humiliated and crowned with a Crown of Thorns for all these things were part of His own Word! But, could He have even imagined the absence of the Father for those moments on the cross when He literally became our Sin?
Yahweh cannot look upon sin, even when worn as a garment by His own Sinless Son to save Mankind. Jesus has existed eternally, just as the Father. He had never known and thus could He even have imagined the darkness, the absence when the Father turned His face away from sin on the Cross? He cried out – My God, My God, Why Has Thou Forsaken Me! Jesus paid a price beyond what most, perhaps even He, have ever imagined.
THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS CHRIST IS OUR POINT OF UNITY!
We unify in and around our Belief in one thing – Jesus Christ and His Suffering – shedding His Blood to pay our Sin Debt. The gift wasn’t free by any stretch of the imagination, but it is freely offered to all. Jesus Christ and Salvation is our God ordained point of unity.
Everything else in scripture is important, but not essential to salvation. Discuss with vigor, listen to Holy Spirit – but the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only hill we need to die on. Never are we allowed to verbally berate our brothers. Like Christ, we must disagree without being disagreeable. The Garden of Gethsemane was one of Suffering, yet it led to Victory in the Garden of Golgotha and the Cross.
It is absolutely acceptable to disagree on peripheral issues in scripture. But you cannot do so without first really listening and submitting your understanding to Holy Spirit, then doing what He requires. It is this listening, this vigorous discussion which combines the Sand and the Nacre of our experience to create the Pearl in our own lives and the lives of others.
Sometimes we’re the grain of Sand and sometimes we must be the Nacre. We cannot always be sand or nacre, for one without the other produces nothing. The trick and the growth comes from knowing how to be both, effectively, at the right time and in the right way. Then and only then are we about the Father’s business and not focusing on our own self-aggrandizement or succumbing to pride. It’s a fine line and we can only walk that line in the power of the Holy Spirit, for to do so alone is to walk boldly and foolishly in an area where angels fear to tread.
A Grain of Sand without Nacre is simply an irritant. Nacre without Sand has no foundation upon which to build a beautiful treasure – the Pearl of Great Price.
Thanks for taking time for me . . .
Sherry Driskell Griffin
P. S. If this was a Blessing to you . . . be a Blessing and pass it along!
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