Precious: adjective – of great value; not to be wasted or treated carelessly.
For some, it is as small as a photograph. They keep it safe in their wallet and take it wherever they go, just so they can look at it whenever they want to.
For some, it extends as much as a family. Every one of them brings joy, thus the sacrifices one makes for the happiness of each, is gladly undertaken.
For some, it is their asset, their growing valuables or collections. It acts to define them, shape them, prove that they are walking in the right way to success.
For others, it is as intangible as a quote, an opinion, a thought. It is the dearest reminder, a golden post-it they stick in their hearts.
One precious pearl
The Bible describes the gospel in various ways. One of them is through the book of Matthews, chapter 13, verses 45 to 46: “…the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. When he found one very precious pearl, he went away and sold all he had and bought it”.
So, this merchant had been searching for pearls. Not just any, but “fine” ones. Notice how he had been initially looking for more than one. But when he comes across “one very precious pearl”, he realizes it is worth more than a dozen others.
Seeing the value
Of course, the pearl has a monetary value to the merchant. He is planning to sell it to double, or even triple his funds. However, if we focus on the action that he takes, we can see why Jesus used this parable to highlight the preciousness of the gospel.
Seeing the value of the great pearl, the merchant goes away to sell “all he had” to buy it. His radical action is not a foolish adventure, as he knows for sure that it is far more precious than anything he had before.
We can imagine the merchant’s shaky hands as he wraps his treasure in silk and bury it deep in his front pocket, close to his heart. We can hear him hum a bright melody out of his mouth that is stretched from ear to ear. Occasionally, he would stop, just to touch the bump of delight remaining safe in his chest-pocket. Then, off he would go again, his footsteps looking like a dance.
As Christians, we have received the gift of the gospel. We know that its supreme value far exceeds the merchant’s tiny prize. But, we must check too – check if we are dancing in joy, check if we are praising in thankfulness, check if we are adoring the wonder of this prime treasure.
The True Treasure
When something is precious, we hold it close – not to warm it, but because it gives us warmth. A photograph can make us smile, a beloved person can make us laugh, a thought can make us determined and a possession can make us safe, but God and His promises offer us all and more.
Photographs, relationships, ideas and assets can fade, wilt, fall and perish, but the Word of God stands forever (Isaiah chapter 40, verse 8). Our treasure is alive. Jesus Christ literally gave Himself to us, as God became our father and the Holy Spirit our power.
God loved us so much that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him can be promised an eternal life in His Kingdom (John chapter 3, verse 16). Jesus loved us so much that while we were still sinners, He died for us (Romans chapter 5, verse 8).
We had done nothing but sin, but out of God’s deep, passionate love for us, we see, repent and be reconciled. We are saved, washed and renewed. While on Earth, we live with His spirit (John chapter 14, verse 16) and when we leave, we are promised to enter the Almighty’s unperishable Kingdom.
The problem is, we are more blind than we think. Some miss what the merchant saw and become hesitant to lay down everything just for the treasure. Some have the treasure, but act like they don’t.
I’ve been noticing myself that even with the Precious Pearl in my heart, I keep trying to work tirelessly to save up perishable goods.
Perhaps I forgot about the value of my Pearl – I don’t need to work, for I am rich enough. Or perhaps, I forgot about the preciousness of my Pearl. The happy hums, the gleeful smile, the joyful dance and the dear touches seem to have quietened, hushed and hid.
Perhaps I’ve been noticing other fine pearls. Far less precious, but perhaps, I’d been listening to the lies of the cheating salesman and had gotten hooked. So much so that the beauty of my pearl seemed boring and insignificant.
I pray my eyes to be opened once again, for my shaking hands to behold the Cross and realize the true supreme value of my Precious Pearl.
Sunny is as a weak as a broken reed, a flickering candle. But Abba God shows His abundant mercy again and again by incredibly loving this hopeless being. Soli deo Gloria.