Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pearl of Great Price

     Not only did I marry a man who’s blood runs green, but I am mostly of Irish descent myself.  On St. Patrick’s Day, I remember my Irish grandmother.  My Grandmother was born in Colorado, but raised in Ireland. As a school girl, she once sung a sassy song about a Lord and a Lady that got her in lots of trouble.
     The Lord and his Lady were riding about.
     The Lord laid a fart, and the Lady jumped out.
     A spot of poetry that earned her punishment at home and school, especially since the Lord in the cart heard her!
     My grandmother had a beautiful pearl necklace with matching earrings that she wore on special occasions.  When she passed, my mother gave Grandma’s pearls to me.  One evening, I wore the necklace to dinner and when we got back home, the pearls were missing.  The next morning, I was so happy and grateful when I found them laying in our driveway.  I treasure the pearls because they were once my grandmothers.
     The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.  When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
     Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.  When he found one of great value, he went away sold everything he had and bought it.  ~Matt.  13:44-45 
     Have you ever thought about that scripture?  The merchant sold everything he had over a single pearl.  While my grandmother’s pearls are valuable to me, they are not particularly expensive.  And why pearls?  Jesus could have picked any precious stone.  Certainly a jeweler would have chosen a more valuable, pricey stone over a pearl.  He could have said diamond, emerald, ruby, or perhaps even topaz.
     A pearl is actually the product of an irritation.  A tiny grain of sand becomes painfully trapped in the tissue of an oyster.  The oyster coats the sand with layer upon layer of a beautiful iridescent substance that hardens into a pearl.
     Diamonds and other precious stones, on the other hand, are dug out of the earth.  They require polishing, cutting, and shaping by a skilled artisan.  A substantial portion of their value comes from the way a person cuts it - the work of man’s hand.  A pearl is the only natural gemstone that has more value when it is found then when men finish with it.  A jeweler may pierce it or glue it into a setting.  The setting adds cost, but detracts from the value of the pearl itself.
     A pearl is a work of beauty produced by pain and transformed by grace.
     I think that I can begin to see why Jesus spoke of the pearl of great price.  He paid a tremendous price for us.  We can add nothing to the work of Salvation.  The Great I Am, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords left all the splendors of heaven to reclaim His bride the Church.  We are fully paid, fully ransomed, and fully redeemed.  We are the pearls of great price.
     But because of his great love for us, God who  is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions -- it is by grace you have been saved.  Ephesians 2: 4
     Top of the morning to ya!

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