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Finding the real pearl

DORA, Ala. (BP)–In Matthew 13:45-46, we read a parable Jesus teaches about the Kingdom of Heaven: “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. When he found one priceless pearl, he went and sold everything he had, and bought it.”

In Jesus’ time on earth, pearls were the most valuable of all jewels. People bought them and kept them as investments, and people who wanted to accrue a fortune worked at the pearl trade like a Wall Street broker working the Market. They traveled far and wide “in search of fine pearls.”

But anybody who knows anything about investing knows, as the old adage says, that you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. For Jesus to tell His disciples and other listeners about “one priceless pearl” that a man was willing to go out and sell everything he had in order to possess got their attention, to say the very least.

I was in China a few years ago and spent some time in Beijing’s famous Pearl Market. Shop after shop, stand after stand, was manned by pearl-sellers, all declaring in clear or broken English that their merchandise was the finest. I had no idea who was speaking truthfully and who wasn’t. But thankfully, what I did have was a guide. And she had already instructed me on who could be trusted.

There are so many religions out there vying for people’s attention, and one Evil Power intent upon hiding the One True Faith. There are so many “fine pearls” of seeming wisdom being spouted by so many false prophets and teachers. But we have a Guide — the Holy Spirit.

The man in the parable had tried everything –- pearl after pearl, religion after religion. All of them seemed to have value, but none of them filled that God-shaped void inside him. He gave to up “everything he had” for the Real Thing, that “one priceless pearl.”

Don’t miss this, folks: That “pearl” was “priceless.” There was no possible way for the man to pay its price. No one could. So how did he acquire it? In a totally unfair transaction — his “goods” with their pathetic mortal price tag for something immortal beyond valuing.

Jesus Christ has already paid the price. He is the Kingdom. He is that one priceless pearl.

In the Christian life, there is no partial exchange. The Bible says you’re either in or you’re out. Are you holding anything back? Is your life fully submitted and surrendered to Christ? Nothing you’re hanging onto is worth an inkling of the value of what you’re missing out on in the Kingdom. Jesus says we must give to Him what He was willing to give for us — everything.
Judy Woodward Bates is a freelance writer, author, speaker and creator of Bargainomics, a Bible-based time and money management philosophy, and the author of the new book, “Blessedly Budgeted Women’s Events.” Visit her website at www.bargainomics.com.

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  • Judy Woodward Bates