22 January 2001

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it"-Matthew 13:45-46
While there are many blessings to be enjoyed in the Lord's kingdom, there is one treasure that sets it apart from all others and that is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Though many would suggest that our depth of spirituality is dependent upon our particular creed, doctrine, rituals, or the name on the sign in front of our place of worship, Jesus paints quite a different picture. Jesus shows us by a word picture of Himself that the primary focus of the kingdom of God is not all of those things. Rather, It involves a relationship; a valuable relationship; a relationship that will cost us something yet provides us riches that we could never imagine. He is he 'pearl of great price'. THE VALUE OF CHRIST IN OUR LIVES In 1905, a man by the name of Kokichi Mikimoto changed the pearl industry forever. He developed the art of cultured pearls. Before that time only royalty could afford them. Wars were fought over them and kingdoms established by them. Montezuma's hoard of pearls attracted the eye of Cortez as much as his gold. Rumors of pearl treasure in Britain prompted its invasion by Julius Ceasar. According to one story, one Maisie Platt swapped her Fifth Avenue mansion for a double strand of pearls valued at $1.2 million that Jacques Cartier dangled before her. The house remains to this day the American flagship of Cartier Jewelers. Some say that royals of old kept score among themselves, not by their gold, but by the splendor of their pearls. And in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the necklaces of matched sea pearls worn by the Romanov royal women were the envy of their cousins in European courts. The number of matched pearls constituting one necklace could be appreciated by the number of trips it would take to the ocean floor to obtain them. Before the invention of scuba and diving gear, and entire career of a pearl diver could expect to retrieve on four or five perfectly matched pearls. Many of those royal strands contained over 200 matched pearls! When our Lord spoke these words, pearls were more valuable than diamonds and gold. Thus we observe the value of our Lord Jesus to His own. SALT IN THE PARABLE In our parable, we have a noble person. He is a 'seeker' walking through life seeking "goodly pearls, good people, noble people, people who display the fruits of God's spirit, people that set examples for us that we desire to live up to. That is the kind of people I like to be around. Though Satan and the world would despise this lot, such pearls have always been a constant value to God's people. Here is salt in our Lord's words. If we would lead others to Christ, our lives must be an example to others; our light should shine; we should endeavor to be "goodly pearls" that the seekers might seek our company and find the great "pearl" in our midst. THE PRICE OF THE PEARL AND HIS BLESSINGS All relationships take time; attention; devotion. The husband and wife; the parent and child; grandparents; pastors; and friends all require a portion of our soul. Jesus said our seeker, "sold all that he had, and bought it". In other words, the relationship of this "pearl" had priority in the seeker's life: Jesus had soul priority. His reward is great. If the Lord is first in our lives, we will elevate every other relationship as we become better fathers, mothers, pastors, children, and etc. We must remember His promise: if we seek we shall find. This Sunday morning what will you be seeking? Is there a day that we are prohibited from seeking? Lord, help us to be "goodly pearls" that we may lead others to Thee! Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church. Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor