Exodus 34:29-35; Matthew 13: 44-46
What if? What if you found the “pearl of great price?” What would you do? What if God spoke to you directly, gave you instructions for your family or community or church? What if you found a treasure hidden in a field or in an attic or under a mattress? This is the stuff of today’s scripture. And, oh, what possibilities they hold for us! Provided, of course, the pearl is authentic and the treasure real.
Moses literally “glowed” when he came down from Mount Sinai or whenever he was in conversation with the Lord. They put a veil over his face because he radiated the Divine presence in his countenance. At the same time the people failed to recognize the message and purpose of Moses; just as they were to be blinded to the recognition of Jesus as the Messiah. We know, from experience, that all that glitters (glows) is not gold. Just so, how genuine is the pearl or the treasure you keep in the jewel box of your heart?
What are the strong attractions in your life that would motivate you to do anything to obtain them? Once you possess them do they guarantee happiness or peace of mind? What do you do with them? Does this pearl or that treasure just sit there to be admired by you alone or clutched by only you? Is this treasure for your private amusement and benefit? Or does the possession of such a treasure motivate and empower you to reach out to share it with others? Does it embolden you to proclaim you possess it? Is this new found discovery evidenced in words and deeds?
If the treasure in Matthews’s gospel is likened to the “kingdom of God” then it is a treasure that cannot be held in isolation or viewed in private. If the “pearl” you seek moves you to extraordinary activity to obtain it, you must ask, for what purpose? If that treasure attracts you to the Gospel of Jesus or draws you to Jesus Himself, it also should be evidenced in your life. For the one who understands the supreme value of the kingdom of God gives up whatever one must do to obtain it. Once obtained, joy abounds!
It is the gift of discernment that allows us to authenticate the “pearl of great price.” There are many imitation pearls (in many shapes and colors) that tempt one to grab for them. The world around us, the world unique to your present circumstance, provides ample occasions to dig for buried treasure of many descriptions. Again, it is discernment that differentiates a faux pearl or a false treasure from the genuine item. It is the good spirit at work in us if, once we obtain that “pearl of great price,” joy abounds. If the joy is not authentic, neither is the pearl; the investment was in vain!
By John Schlegel