#66: The Pearl of Great Price

John 10:1–11

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

A couple of parables all about treasure, money, wealth, but not about that sort of treasure. In fact, we have already heard what Jesus said about it in Matthew chapter 6, verses 19 – 21:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Some time ago I read a tragic story of a young couple who won seven million pounds on the lottery and lost their ticket. I don’t know whether they ever got their hands on the money but at the time they were pretty heart broken – and who wouldn’t be!?!
One year I was preaching on Easter Sunday morning in a little church in Manchester. After the service I found myself in the carpark and discovered that the next door building was a casino. What a contrast! How many people had spent the Saturday night trying to hit the jackpot? How many had been in church that Sunday morning re-living the resurrection and celebrating the jackpot?

Now let’s be honest, if we had to choose between knowing Jesus and winning £5,000,000 who knows what we would do. But bear in mind that winning the money is just a dream, whilst knowing Jesus is a reality. Money can only last as long as we last, but eternal life makes us last a lot longer. And at the end of the day most of us need some sort of peace, joy and power in our heart not our pocket.

So let’s get real, for most of us the money is just not going to happen but Jesus is there, right by us, right now.

The story of the Pearl of Great Price is about hitting the jackpot.
There are three things to think about in the story:

  • Finding the pearl
  • Enjoying the pearl
  • Not losing the pearl

If you are still trying to find the pearl of the Kingdom of God then you are still trying to find Jesus.
Some time ago I went to visit a young couple, Dennis and Lucy. They had been coming to our church for a while. At first I felt they were a bit dis-interested and were basically coming for the kid’s sake. Then I invited them to a gathering where a friend of mine was talking about the ‘great pearl’ in his life and they were interested. They were getting closer all the time. The point is, Jesus is the ultimate treasure so keep on searching.

Secondly, if the pearl is such a treasure then enjoy it. Too many Christians are too grey, too miserable, too non-joyful. Here in the story is a man who searches for fine pearls and suddenly he stumbles across the best he has ever seen. I think knowing Jesus is the best deal in the world. If I can’t be positive, joyful and feel good about knowing him, then what can I feel good about?

Here in the story is a man who searches for fine pearls and suddenly he stumbles across the best he has ever seen.

For some who find Jesus it sort of cools down into a ’yes I go to church, yes I believe and yes it is fine’. What was a great pearl has settled down into a sort of okay minor bauble. As with every relationship we can lose the love, pause on the passion and basically let the fire slowly fade-away. Jesus is not a pearl but the pearl. Don’t lose it, keep the relationship alive, hungry and fresh.

I’m a great fan of Charles Dickens’ novels. In almost all of them however, there seems to be a line. Above the line people have quite a lot of money. They are usually quite happy and content. Below the line it is quite the opposite, little money and lots of misery. David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, they all seem to be ruled by money or the lack of it.

Now I do realise that real poverty does make life very hard, especially in a rich country like ours. It is difficult to feel good when you and your children are hungry and cold. Yet even here in the midst of poverty there is still a great treasure or pearl waiting to be found.

Jesus the Treasure,
I stumbled across you in a field.
I found you in a market of busyness.
I heard you in a crowd of voices.
May you now become the great treasure in my life.