Kingdom Pearls and Costly Praise
KINGDOM PEARLS and COSTLY PRAISE
"Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it." Matthew 13:46 (KJV)
Pearls don’t come without a price. Like many precious stones, pearls are costly because of their rarity, and also because of the lengthy and arduous process involved with creating and acquiring them. I love that the Kingdom is compared to a pearl in Jesus’ parable here. Pearls are rare, hard to find, and they are created as a response to irritation. An oyster, clam, or mollusk responds to an intruding irritant, such as a microorganism or a random particle of debris that tries to attach itself to its inner soft tissue, by encasing it in a pearl sac. It then continues to create new layers of beautifully iridescent pearl coating. The pearl over time is created and harvested and admired for its beauty.
Let’s think about that... Something painful is transformed into something beautiful, valuable, and admirable. Since we all have pain, I believe this is an invitation into a deeper intimacy with Jesus. We all have our share of irritants in life – financial pain, broken relationships, wounds, pressures, sickness, injury, addictions, temptations – you get the idea. We respond to these irritants in a number of ways. Sometimes we try to escape them. We may try to live in denial of their existence. We may look for relief from their discomfort in something that is temporary but destructive. I believe we have an opportunity in Christ to respond differently to the irritations life brings us. Because Christ lives in our hearts, we can wrap these irritations in praise and thanksgiving to Jesus. We can encase our cares in trust towards Jesus. When we invite the King, we invite His KINGDOM! When we are aware of how valuable His Kingdom is, we will forsake all other “valuables” to see the infinite and measureless value of the Kingdom of God expanding in our hearts.
I love the passage in Luke 17:20b-21 where Jesus said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” God wants to establish His Kingdom through us, and it starts by recognizing that it is already within us through Jesus! When we realize the value of His Kingdom, and the potential for that Kingdom to expand in our hearts and minds, we will start reprioritizing how we spend our time, our energy, and our attention. We will “sell everything we have” to make room. We will “buy” the priceless pearl of the King and His Kingdom by spending time, energy, and attention to know Him more. More of His Kingdom in us means more of His Kingdom through us. Jesus is the one that brings true value. Then the world will see what true value looks like, as the pearls of His Kingdom adorn our lives for all to see.
Jesus, forgive me for overestimating the “treasures of the world,” like comfort, ease, fame, pleasure, and having everything I want. Open my eyes and heart to more accurately value the measureless worth of Your Kingdom. Teach me how to wrap the truths, the promises, and the praises of living in Your Kingdom around my disappointments and irritations. Help me to see that even painful things can be transformed into beautiful things when I trust You with them. Whatever it costs to see more of Your Kingdom at work within me, You are worth it!
Do it in me, Lord. Amen
What am I spending too much time, energy, and attention on that I could invest more time, energy, and attention towards His Kingdom growing in my life?
What is a promise in God's Word that I can attach to my problem(s) so that I can begin praising God for His goodness in the midst of my painful moments?
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