The Priceless Pearl!
George Everard, 1885
"The kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. On finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it!" Matthew 13:45-46
We should ever regard the Gospel of Christ as bringing to man a treasure of exceeding value. It never comes to rob man of one single source of true enjoyment — but it does bring in its hand benefits and blessings that far outweigh all others. It is the great lesson of this and the preceding parable.
A man finds in a field hidden treasure, and he goes his way to purchase the field that he may not lose that which he has found. "The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." Matthew 13:44
A merchant goes from shore to shore to search for pearls. Each pearl he carefully examines, and not a few costly ones he finds. At last he lights upon one far, far superior to all seen before. So large, so brilliant, so pure, so free from blemish is this pearl, that to possess it becomes his one desire. But the price is high. All he has must be sacrificed for the purchase. But he has no hesitation. He makes no delay. He dare not risk the loss of it. "If I have but this," he would say to himself, "untold wealth is mine!" So he sells all, and in the possession of the one pearl, he goes on his way rejoicing.
Oh, that men had eyes to discern that which is truly precious! Alas! for the false estimate men form of things. That which is but of little worth, is reckoned worthy of their pursuit night and day; whereas that which is far beyond the whole world in value, is cast aside and despised as a thing of nothing.
But WHAT is this "pearl of great price?" Wherein consists its great value? Let me put it in this way. Suppose for a moment, a jewel to possess some rare and marvelous properties. In fairy tales we have read of such things, and in the matter of which I am speaking, there may be more truth in it than we might think.
Imagine this gem to have the power of ensuring to its possessor far more wealth than others around. Moreover, it confers an attractiveness and beauty on the one who wears it, that few can resist. Still better, it ever brings with it peace of mind, safety from accident, victory in the day of battle, and the scythe of death can never harm the one who has it on his person.
Such a jewel many a one would crave, and give all they had to make it their own.
But in the very highest sense, does not the true pearl, the knowledge and love of Christ, bring every one of these benefits to the soul that lays hold upon it?
It brings gold tried in the fire — faith and hope and love; and in Christ the heirship of all things. It adorns the one who receives it with the likeness of the Redeemer, and thus he becomes glorious in the eyes of all holy beings. It tells of peace, the very peace of God that passes understanding, even when everything below is full of pain and sorrow. It brings fullest security, for not a hair of your head shall perish if you are Christ's. Nor can death touch you, for death is but the gate of life to every one that believes.
Nor does the benefit end here. Imagine to yourself, any source of lawful ambition and desire, in the highest and most durable form of it — it will be found with him who chooses Christ as his portion. Is it knowledge, true pleasure, friendship, home affection, congenial occupation, a name that shall never be forgotten, the run of the palace, power to do a vast amount of good in the world? All these will assuredly be yours if you make your own this treasure of which I speak.
But HOW shall you make it your own? How may you claim it as that which none shall ever take from you? There must be a deliberate choice. Salvation is free, perfectly free, so that the beggar or the slave may at once take Christ for their own, if only they desire it. Yes, and the soul that is conscious of its own utter poverty and bondage to some form of evil, may receive Christ — for righteousness, for spiritual riches, for forgiveness, for freedom, for life, for all, and this by a simple act of humble trust in His name.
But there comes another side of truth. Wherever there is true faith, there will also be self-sacrifice. Christ has said it: "In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:33).
Think of Moses. The three glittering prizes that the world thinks most about — these were in his hand. High position, the pleasures of sin, the treasures of Egypt all were his — yet he parts with all. He reckoned the reproach of Christ greater riches than all else. So he chose rather affliction with the people of God, than all he might otherwise have enjoyed (Hebrews 11:24 — 26).
Think of Paul. A wise merchantman was he. The pearl he found, and the pearl he kept, though for it all else was forsaken. "But whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ!" (Philippians 3:7, 8).
Will you be wise also? Will you learn to take a true view of the Christian's hope and privilege? Will you let faith rule instead of sight? Will you look up for the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to correct your estimate of things as you have regarded them in the past, and to reveal to you the unsearchable riches of Christ? Will you so prize Christ as . . .
your spring of purest delight,
your crown and diadem of honor
— that you are willing for His sake, if need be, to say good-bye to all that once was most attractive in your eyes?
Will you say to Him from your very heart, "Whom have I in Heaven but You, and there is none upon earth I desire beside You?"
"And the world deceived and foolish call
Him, who for one jewel gave his all;
But, unheeding what they think or say,
Glad and satisfied he goes his way.
Wondrous blessings reach him from above;
Love comes down to meet the heart of love;
Ever as he views his treasure bright,
And his soul is filled with life and light."