“…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.”—Matthew 13:45-46 (NKJV)
“Heaven’s kingdom realm is also like a jewel merchant in search of rare pearls. When he discovered one very precious and exquisite pearl, he immediately gave up all he had in exchange for it.”
—Matthew 13:45-46 (TPT)
Matthew 13:45-46 tells us that we are God’s “pearl of great price,” but what does that mean?
The Passion Translation footnote for this Scripture answers this question beautifully, “You are the exquisite and unique pearl, as his beloved follower, that came from the wounded side of Jesus Christ. You prompted him to give up all, including his sacred blood, in exchange for having you as his very own.”
He chose to sell something far more valuable in order to purchase us. Because to our Savior, we are beautiful, lovely, and precious… shining in His hands.
This is truth, but it is time for us to start living like it!
“‘And I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.”—2 Corinthians 6:18 (AMP)
God is our Father, Savior, and a host of other wonderful names to us… but what does that mean for us? What does it mean for God to value us as His pearl of great price?
When we value something—even only a portion of how God values us—we take care of it. Even something as lifeless as a home or a car that we possess and care for, particularly in those first days and weeks… because to us, it is precious…
We are precious to God. Far more precious than these temporal things. And even the care of the most loving parent on earth, though deep, is only a fraction of God’s love and care for us…
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”—Matthew 7:11
If we, who are here today and gone tomorrow, can care for the things and people in our lives, then how much more so can and will the God of ALL? His love is endless!
“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go…”
Because of this deep love, God desires to care for us. But more than that, He desires that we might achieve our best through Him. But it takes a few things for a pearl to grow to its fullness and shine! Things only achieved through God’s divine plan…
The growth of a pearl tells us what it takes for us to become God’s “pearl of great price”…
A tiny piece of sand or a small organism slips into a clam (or mollusk). Should this slip back out, then nothing happens, but if it becomes trapped, it becomes an irritant. One which hurts the clam long enough for the clam to take action…
The clam begins a process. A process of adding layer upon layer until what was once an irritant becomes smooth—molded into a new creation, readied for a new season of being.
Over and over again, the clam layers smooth brilliance. With each layer it grows in size, and yet, because it has been remade and reshaped, its only issue is that it is quickly outgrowing the old nature. As the ultimate design comes closer, what was once a roomy, grand place where the now pearl could remain, has become small. Yes, the irritant now redesigned into a beautiful pearl, could stay within the clam perhaps to the end of the clam’s natural days… but that is not the desired destiny.
What was once a worthless irritant now has value, but only if it leaves. It can go from worthlessness to conceivably being the world’s highest costing pearl; the best pearls reaching into the millions of dollars per pearl according to most sources.
This process is remarkably similar to ours…
We start out life not knowing we will become a pearl, beginning in many ways as an “irritant” due to our sinful nature. But then, through God, we begin to take on a better form. His love, mercy, and the great price He paid allows us to be molded and shaped into His “pearl of great price.” Through layer upon layer of His nature, we begin to shine. We grow and shine as a light to those around us—reflecting the light of God so that others can begin their own growth. Yet, for the light to shine we have to go where God leads. We have to be ready to shift to the bigger and better places God has prepared…
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
—Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
By going through this process, by becoming who God created us to be, God receives the “pearl of great price” He paid so dearly for. And we who are already blessed of the Lord will hear, “well done, GOOD and FAITHFUL servant.” We will have run the race and be able to share in our Master’s happiness!
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”
—Matthew 25:21, 23 (NIV)
Accepting the Layers of God:
This changing of sand or an organism into a pearl has many similarities to our walk with God, but there are dissimilarities as well. One of which is the matter of choice.
The “irritant” which in the natural becomes a pearl, does not have a heart or soul—mind, will, or emotions. It enters the clam unknowingly and ultimately becomes a pearl simply because it is there. It cannot say, “Stop, I do not want to be a pearl.”
To each of us is given the choice to accept or refuse God’s molding. Yes, God places skills, passions, etc., into each person, even those who will not follow Him, and these are almost like the first layers of a pearl. However, it is only by accepting God and His shaping that we can shine. It is only by accepting God’s offer that we can become TRUE “pearls of great price.”
We have the option to refuse and sadly, we often do. The pressure and newness of each layer can scare us or cause us to be so uncomfortable that we wiggle and whine until God eases up. Sometimes this is unwittingly done—perhaps thinking the enemy is attacking instead of realizing that it is a period of molding from our Father. Yet, God allows us to freely choose, because He loves us. Choosing to follow Him automatically has us accepting a base number of layers. However, it is only through asking God, seeking Him, and knocking upon Heaven’s door that we are able to receive every layer God has for us.
There will be times that this molding, shaping, and layering WILL become uncomfortable. Sometimes it may be like a second skin. But it is only through each coming in the appropriate season and our acceptance of them that we can fulfill our true Kingdom purpose. That we can become the pearl of great price that we were created to be.
God is worth it all. He is worth becoming a “pearl of great price” for.
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