"THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE"
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly 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
While there are many blessings to be enjoyed in the Lord's kingdom, there is one treasure that sets it apart from all others, and that is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. His is he 'pearl of great price'.
In 1905, a man by the name of Kokichi Mikimoto changed the pearl industry forever. He developed the art of cultured pearls. Before that time only royalty could afford them. Wars were fought over them and kingdoms established by them. Montezuma's hoard of pearls attracted the eye of Cortez as much as his gold. Rumors of pearl treasure in Britain prompted its invasion by Julius Ceasar. According to one story, one Maisie Platt swapped her Fifth Avenue mansion for a double strand of pearls valued at $1.2 million that Jacques Cartier dangled before her. The house remains to this day the American flagship of Cartier Jewelers.
Some say that royals of old kept score among themselves, not by their gold, but by the splendor of their pearls. And in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the necklaces of matched sea pearls worn by the Romanov royal women were the envy of their cousins in European courts. The number of matched pearls constituting one necklace could be appreciated by the number of trips it would take to the ocean floor to obtain them. Before the invention of scuba and diving gear, and entire career of a pearl diver could expect to retrieve on four or five perfectly matched pearls. Many of those royal strands contained over 200 matched pearls! When our Lord spoke these words, pearls were more valuable than diamonds and gold. Thus we observe the value of our Lord Jesus to His own.
In our parable, we have a noble person. He is a 'seeker'. In the previous parable, we have one of a different character. He was not looking for anything. He just stumbled over the treasure in the field(Christ) and bought the whole field to gain it. Indeed, there are many experiences. But there is but one treasure.
Our 'seeker' is looking for "pearls", in the plural. His expectations are moderate. He makes his living this way and he searches everywhere for these lesser jewels. While attending a college graduation a few day ago, I listened to one of the speakers as he spoke of integrity, honesty and loyalty in the work place. I thought to myself, "Yes, what he is saying is true, these are all 'pearls of wisdom'. But do they not all emulate from the one 'pearl of great price'? He should be mentioned." In our parable, our seeker has found some lesser pearls and he has been thankful for them. But one day our Lord's promise unfolds, "he that seeketh findeth"; our seeker found the pearl of "great price".
He must have said in his heart, "I never expected this! I never knew such a pearl existed!!" His expectations were moderate, but his find was immaculate.
The next thing he did was sell out. We have heard of people selling out on others. But here, one must sell out to self; they must empty self; they must die to self. He said, "I want that pearl and I will sell all I have to obtain it." He had to sell out his old prejudices; his vices; his sin; doctrines that he could not prove by the Bible; some places and friends; some worldly pleasures and pursuits; and his pride as well. But most of all, he had to sell his own righteousness. This was not difficult, for when he saw the "pearl of great price' they became as filthy rags before his eyes.
Finally, he bought the pearl. His purchase was immediate. He didn't think on it for several years. He knew that another would come along and purchase it first. And his purchase was final. He bought it and never regretted it. It was one treasure of a lifetime.
We close today with a small lesson about the keeping of our pearl. It is well known by jewelers that pearls should be kept far from perfume's and face powder's damaging chemicals. And they glow from brushing against skin and fresh air. If placed in a stagnant box, pearls may disintegrate into worthless powder. Is the pearl of great price on display in your life? Lord, lead others to thy kingdom!