“…the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”—Matthew 13:45-46
We, through no effort of our own, are God’s “pearl of great price.” HE paid the ultimate price; giving all for us through His sacrifice on the cross—the precious life of the King of all the universe: Jesus. He chose to sell the most precious thing for each and every one of us… because to Him, we are beautiful, we are lovely, we are of great value and beautifully shining in His hands.
It is time for us to start behaving like it is true.
“I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”—2 Corinthians 6:18
Through the eyes of the Father, Yeshua sees our value and cares for each and every one of us. Even we tend to take immense care of those things dear to us… our possessions, our accomplishments, and the loved ones we see as being of “great price” to us.
For instance, if we purchase a new vehicle (even if it is only new to us), during those first days and weeks are we likely to mistreat it—leaving trash wherever it falls and neglecting to keep it clean from bugs smeared on the window? Are we not more likely to be treating that new vehicle almost as if it were our new baby? But it is a lifeless thing. No matter how much we might appreciate it, it cannot hold us in loving arms. It cannot grieve or laugh with us. It is a body of parts with no heart or soul to beat and sing.
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”—Matthew 7:11
If we, mere flesh and blood beings who are here today and are gone tomorrow, can care for and take pride in objects, accomplishments, and people in our lives—“polishing” each to show it off to the world—then how much more so can and will the God of the universe care and take joy in us?
“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go…”—Genesis 28:15
He desires to care for the “pearl of great price” that He bought. He desires to see it safe, but also desires to show it off to the world. Yet, before the season where we are to shine in the light of God’s presence can come to pass, a few things have to happen—almost as if we were actual pearls.
In a way, you might say that pearls in the natural start out life much as Adam did in the Garden... from the earth.
A piece of sand or organism slips into an oyster—or other mollusk—harmless and without purpose. But it quickly becomes an irritant to the very one who would soon shape it. The intruder hurts the oyster and therefore the oyster takes action. It decides that, despite the smallness of the issue, it cares. It cares enough to stop the pain, but to also create something new from the old.
The oyster begins a process. A process of adding layer upon layer until the creation becomes smooth—molding it into a new substance, readying it for a new season of being.
Over and over again the oyster layers smooth brilliance. With each step the irritant grows in size, and yet, because it is being remade and reshaped, its only issue is that it is quickly outgrowing the old nature.
It is growing daily into its ultimate design, and because of that, what had once been a roomy, grand place where the creation—while not always welcome—could remain, now feels very small. Yes, the irritant, now redesigned into a shining pearl, could stay in the oyster perhaps to the end of the oyster's natural days… but that is not the desired destiny.
Because the oyster took an irritant and reworked it until it was smoother, rounder—ideally—and almost iridescent, now, what was once uselessly insignificant has value. It has gone from worthlessness to potentially being the world’s most valuable pearl—which, according to some sources, can reach into the millions of dollars.
So too, in our own lives a similar process happens. We begin as a piece of sand or an organism seemingly without purpose… an “irritant” due to our sin nature. For we, throughout our lives hurt God, provoking the very one who gives us a dwelling place. Yet, God, in His infinite mercy, desires us to be like Him and begins to reshape us.
First, if we allow it, He cleanses us in His Blood through our acceptance of Him. Then, though He began from our first breath, starts to layer His glory, His goodness, and His nature onto us. As we accept each new layer, we grow “bigger” in Him. We begin to shine. We become a light to those around us by reflecting the light of our Father God.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”—Matthew 5:16
When we reach Heaven, we, as God’s “pearl of great price,” will glow with layers of His glory. We will have gone through the process of a speck made into a pearl. We, if we have taken our new layers well, will hear, “well done, GOOD and FAITHFUL servant.” We will share in our Master’s happiness and shine brighter than the sun.
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”—Matthew 25:21 (NIV)
Accepting the Layers of God:
While there are many similarities between our shaping walk with God and the shaping of the pearl, there are also a few dissimilarities…
One of which is a matter of choice. The “irritant” in the mollusk does not have a heart or soul—mind, will, and emotions. It enters the oyster unwittingly and ultimately becomes a pearl merely because it is there. It cannot say to the oyster, “stop this, I do not desire to be a pearl.” The shaping happens because it was created to be so.
We however, are given a choice. Yes, God puts skills, passions, and more within everyone—almost like the first layers of a pearl. But it is only in accepting God and His shaping that we can truly shine. It is only in God’s redeeming love that we can become TRUE “pearls of great price.”
We have the option to refuse and sadly, some often do. The pressure and newness of another layer can scare us or make us so uncomfortable that we wiggle and rebel until God eases up. Sometimes we do so unwittingly—perhaps thinking it an attack of the enemy instead of a period of molding from our Father. Yet, God gives us free choice. In following Him we automatically accept a base “number” of layers…
However, it is only in asking God, seeking Him, and knocking upon the door of Heaven that we will be able to receive every layer God has for us.
There will be times that the molding, the shaping and layering WILL be uncomfortable; other times it will be like a second skin. Yet, it is only through both—each coming in the appropriate season—that we can fulfill our true Kingdom purpose; that we can become the pearl we were born to be.
Therefore, let us allow God to shape us. Let us not always assume that every time of difficulty is from the enemy. Instead, ask God about it. And keep on asking, seeking, and knocking.
Let us throw our heads back and enjoy the journey. Because the end of the journey—becoming all that God saw we could be as He hung upon that cross, is worth all the joy and pain the process entails.
God is worth it all. He is worth becoming a “pearl of great price” for.
Let us expect Matthew 7:7-8 and live as if Matthew 25:21…
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”—Matthew 7:7-8
“…‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”—Matthew 25:21