Have you ever lost something you treasured, and after days or months of searching you found it? And after finding it you jumped up and down for joy rejoicing for what was once lost that now has been found. God feels that way about one sinner repenting and turning back to God. We are lost until we put our faith in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus goes to great lengths to seek out that one lost sheep, “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying” (Matt. 18:11, 12 NKJV).
The angels in heaven rejoice on the day a sinner repents of their sins and returns to the Lord, being cleansed through the Blood of Christ,” “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7 NKJV).
You are God’s most precious possession. I know that’s hard to believe when we look at ourselves–honestly. We all are far from being the person God created us to be; but the great news is that He loves us anyway. God loves us so much that he sent His Son to die for us while we were still sinners, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8 NKJV).
God could have turned His back on His creation, but He didn’t because He loves you and me. With that thought in mind, where should our heart, mind, and treasures be stored? The Bible tells us to store up our treasures in heaven, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:19—21NKJV).
Where are your treasures stored? Are they stuck away in a locked box in a closet, or in a safety deposit box in the bank, or are they in heaven stored away in God’s treasure chest with your name on it? A Christian’s first goal in life should be to please God. And one way to do that is to treasure the things that are in heaven not the things of this world, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt. 6:33 NKJV).
How do we go about storing up treasures in Heaven? While teaching about the Kingdom of heaven, in Matthew chapter 13, Jesus tells this parable, “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” (Matt. 13:45-46 NKJV).
What are pearls? A pearl is created inside a living creature and when formed is unlike any other precious gemstone. Pearls are grown far below the surface of the sea; complete — with a shimmering luster and soft inner glow unlike any other gem on earth. Shouldn’t that describe every Christian that totally trusts in Christ: Being complete, lacking nothing, with a shimmering luster and soft inner glow unlike any other people on earth? The pearl in us is Jesus Christ our most precious possession. With the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, we should shine like a spotlight on the darkest night; for the entire world to see and understand that we are followers of Christ, and that being confirmed by the Christ like love that radiates from us.
We do not live unto ourselves, but unto Christ, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20, italics theirs NKJV).
As Christians we should find our identity in Christ not in the things of this world, because we are commanded by Jesus to die daily, pick up our cross, and follow Him, “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mark 8:34, italics theirs NKJV).
We are commanded by Jesus to die to self, live for him, and follow him wherever he goes. Where is Jesus today? He’s in heaven, so our heart, mind, and soul should be focused on where Jesus is. Heaven!
As we study the parable of the pearl, there are three things that Jesus mentions that we should do in order to find and keep this pearl of great value,
- A person must be seeking.
- A person must recognize this treasure when they find it.
- A person must be willing to give up everything to possess it.
First, you must be a seeker, searching for something more valuable than anything else on earth, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7 NKJV).
All of these commands are action verbs. Seek, ask, and knock. The Christian faith is not a faith of passiveness or inactivity; but is a faith built on action. What did James say in James 2:17? “Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead!” If our faith is not combined with action it is what? Dead! We take action when we hear the Word of God and then act on it. Jesus said in Matthew, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matt. 7:24 NKJV). James writes, “Be doers of the word not hearers only deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22 NKJV).
Secondly, you must be able to recognize this gem when you find it. There are many who hear the “Good News” but don’t do anything about it. Jesus said in Matt. 13:9, “He who has ears to hear let him ear.” Some people just don’t want to hear the truth. Jesus used a prophecy from the Book of Isaiah to drive this point home for those whose ears are closed and whose eyes are open but do not see,
“Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them” (Matt. 13:14-15, italics theirs).
What always happened to the nation of Israel after God had blessed them? They got lazy and stopped seeking the things of God and started seeking the things of the world–causing them to plunge into sin and disobedience. They became so blinded by their sin they failed to recognize the promised Messiah when He came; even though the Scriptures teach us that they had been waiting on his appearance for centuries. The Old Testament was about the coming of the Messiah (the anointed one), but they refused to recognize Him. Instead He was rejected, called a mad man, and crucified.
As a Christian, its heart wrenching after all the times you’ve witnessed to someone about Jesus and they tell you, “I just don’t have time for that religious stuff right now.” When they stand before Christ and find out their name is not in the “Book of Life,” Jesus might say to them, if only you had known your time of visitation; I sent all those people to you, but you would not listen.
If you have not surrendered your life to the loving Shepard of your soul, Jesus Christ, wait no longer, turn from your sinful ways and begin to live for Christ. I believe that soon the invitation to give your life to Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins will come to an end and the gates of heaven will be closed. After that only pain and suffering remain through this life and into the life to come. You must recognize this precious Pearl, Christ, while on earth; once you leave, it’s too late, there are no do overs.
And thirdly, you must be willing to give up everything to possess this precious pearl. What are you willing to give up for the treasures in heaven? “Then He [Jesus] said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:23-24 NKJV, italics theirs). We must be willing to pick up our cross and follow Jesus everyday regardless of the circumstances of that day. We owe Him so much, no sacrifice is too great. Nothing this world has to offer can even come close to having this precious Pearl, Jesus, living inside of you.
What is the process which takes place inside of an oyster to create a pearl?
A natural pearl begins its life inside an oyster’s shell when a foreign object finds its way between the two shells. Once the foreign object is recognized, a protective layer begins to form around the intruder; thus, the start of a pearl begins. Sin is the foreign object that invaded the human heart, and it is Christ living in us, through the Holy Spirit, which protects us and strengthens us to do battle against sin; what was once a foreign object is now part of our nature. The Holy Spirit is the protective cover that surrounds the intruder, sin: removing the desire to sin and replace it with the desire to do God’s will.
The finest quality of natural pearls has been highly valued as a precious stone and an object to be desired for many centuries. Because of this, pearl, has become a synonym for something rare, fine, and admirable. Doesn’t that describe the Lord Jesus? The rare beauty that is found in a relationship with Christ is indescribable. But felt deeply in the human heart taking a broken life, marred by sin, and turning that life into a symphony of faith strong enough to believe of a better life to come where treasures are never lost, or stolen, but remain treasures forever.
God bless you,