Blessed… To Buy a Pearl

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. When he found one very precious pearl, he went and sold all that he owned and bought it” (Matthew 13:45-46, Common English Bible).

I read somewhere years ago about the process an oyster uses to make a pearl. It happens when a grain of sand makes its way into the shell of the oyster and becomes lodged in the muscle of the oyster. Unlike we humans, the oyster has no hands to remove the irritation so it stays there. In order to deal with the irritation the oyster secretes a fluid that hardens around that grain of sand. That now hardened fluid is a pearl.

It is interesting that we place high value on another creatures irritation and suffering. When most of the time we would go out of our way to relieve suffering in an animal, in the case of an oyster, it would seem we might even want to encourage it just so we could harvest something we value.

Of course this parable isn’t really about that. A merchant makes a discovery. As a merchant this is a person who would recognize something of great value. To be brutally honest, I wouldn’t know a valuable pearl from a total fake. But, I am not a merchant who deals in these things.

When the merchant sees the pearl, Jesus says, he went out and sold all he had in order to possess this rare and beautiful pearl. Much like yesterday’s lesson. On a surface level this parable doesn’t make a great deal of sense. Think about it. Would you sell the roof over your head, the food you eat, the support for your family all to own something you could carry around in your pants pocket. And, while I realize this is a different parable, just like the woman who lost the coin (Luke 15:8-10) searched until she found the coin, if we read this parable in a literal way, we would be selling all our stuff in order to buy more valuable stuff.

One might also read this parable as to say the Kingdom of Heaven is up for sale. Jesus says here that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant who finds a pearl. The pearl alludes to the Kingdom of Heaven. The merchant sold everything in order to buy the pearl. Therefore, one could conclude, the Kingdom is for sale.

That is a terrible way to interpret this parable. Just as with the parable of the treasure in the field yesterday, today’s lesson is about one thing, sacrificing all you have in order to possess the greatest treasure, the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom is more valuable than any treasure we might find in a field. It is more valuable than any pearl a merchant might find. And, because of its great value, we should be willing to sacrifice whatever we have in order to possess the Kingdom for ourselves. It is not that we can buy the Kingdom, it is that we sacrifice in order to have it.

What is it you would sacrifice in order to have the Kingdom of Heaven?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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