Dear Friend in Christ,
What is the value of a person? Generally speaking, our society values life very highly (except in the case of the unborn). We will go to any expense in order to rescue a lost person, or to punish the taking of an innocent life. Jesus taught us the value of life when He gave His own life to save others.
When I was growing up, I knew a boy named Pearle; his family was very close to ours. However, as you might guess, he didn’t like his name. He thought it was a girl’s name, so he went by his initials, “P.E.”
Pearls are very valuable; maybe not a good name for a boy, but valuable as a possession. Jesus likens the Kingdom of God to a pearl of great value. He told a story that is found in Matthew 13 about a man who found a great treasure, hid it in a field, then sold all that he had to buy the field.
Jesus followed that story with another one about a pearl merchant who found a very fine pearl, and sold all that he had to purchase it. Both stories illustrate the value of the kingdom of God and the wisdom in sacrificing for it.
The field represents not only the world in general, but one person’s world in particular. They may be lost or hidden in ugly circumstances. The seeker must go there to find them.
Now here is a significant question: what is the pearl? Perhaps I should ask, “Who is the pearl?” Jesus was not seeking physical pearls; He was seeking people whom He valued highly. He called them pearls.
Peter and Matthew were pearls, though I doubt that they would like that name. Jesus valued them. They were each a pearl of great price. He gave His life for them and the world. We must keep these questions clear in our minds: The field is the world; the pearl is the person.
This is the difficult part: we want the treasure, but not the field. The field is ugly, dangerous, and offensive. All too often, Christians view the world as their enemy instead of their opportunity. We are turned off by profanity, vanity, and promiscuity. But that is where pearls are.
Real, natural pearls are found in oysters, lying in the muddy bottom of a bay. The oysters must be scooped up with large tongs, which is hard work! The oysters are washed and pried open to expose the pearls, which are rare. Then, if pearls are found, they must be polished. One reason why pearls are expensive is because they require a lot of searching and difficult work. In the end, they are beautiful; but at first, they are hidden and rough.
Let me tell you about a “pearl” named Eddie. He and I became friends, but his world was ugly. His world involved drugs, prostitution, and crime. His language was of the most vulgar and profane kind. But the Lord led me to him. Yes, it was a bad field, but in the end, he was a beautiful pearl of great price.
Eddie’s girlfriend was a pearl of great price. Before that, she was a prostitute; her world was ugly and dangerous. I remember when Eddie took me to visit her world. I had never seen such a field, but there in her world, I shared the Gospel. She not only accepted Jesus, but she also became a “seeker of fine pearls” herself. She found many of them through a prison ministry that the Lord subsequently gave to her.
Too often, we are waiting for “pearls” to walk into church so we can “eyeball” them, and see if they are worthy to sit beside us. But pearls are hidden “out there” somewhere. The great treasures are usually unnoticed and will never be found, unless they are sought by those who know what God can do. To find the great and valuable pearls, we must seek them and enter the dangerous fields as Jesus did. People who do not love pearls will not take the risk