Matthew Chapter 13 verse 45 – 46 reveals a small but significant parable; the Merchant and the Pearl of Great Price:
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Living the Kingdom through your Work
I was chatting with someone recently and they asked me about “what I do”.
For me that’s rarely been a straight-forward answer. I’ve never been a policeman or a teacher or a lawyer or something so easy to categorise. But in answering their question I explained the different career paths I’ve taken and where I am now.
At this point its worth pointing out my work history is somewhat varied. I’ve been in ministry positions as a pastor, I’ve worked in the corporate sector, I’ve started businesses and worked for myself. For me, I’ve enjoyed and I’m thankful for the journey the Lord has had me take thus far.
But what struck me was the response this person gave as I explained the twists and turns. The seasons of resigning and launching out into something new. Their response:
“Wow, that’s brave”
That struck me. Because to me I wasn’t telling them my story to elicit that response. I was just telling them my story of my work. But as I pondered I could see why they would say that.
Living the Safe Life vs. Living the Kingdom life
Many of us, most of us even, find ourselves stuck in life, to the script.
What I mean by that is, when it comes to the big ticket items in life — our jobs, our houses, our education, our families — we tend to play it safe. And there is good reason for that. We want to be wise and good stewards, right?
But sometimes that safety betrays the things that are actually more important in life. What happens when our safety gets in the way of following the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives?
To me giving up good careers and changing direction is not about bravery. It’s about following the leading of God because the greatest value is with Him.
He is first in priority, importance and value. All else is secondary.
The Kingdom of God is like…
I was reminded of this as I read the parable, hidden in two small verses, of the Merchant and the pearl of great price.
Most people call it the parable of the pearl, and it is about the pearl. But Jesus says this parable is about Kingdom of God being like the merchant. He didn’t say it is the kingdom is like the pearl. He said it is like the merchant.
The merchant is one who seeks pearls to buy and sell and so make a living. He knows pearls. He knows their value. And when he finds a pearl of great value, he says to himself ‘I must have it’.
And in order to acquire it, he liquidates all his assets, just to buy the pearl.
Why would he do such a thing?
“Wow, that’s brave!”
No, it is because he recognises an incredible opportunity.
He sees in this one pearl value beyond what he can imagine. He sees in it something he doesn’t already have. And it is something he does not want to miss. The merchant is prepared to give up everything else in order to secure that pearl.
This parable is about the merchant as the kingdom of God. What do we learn about the kingdom from the merchant?
The Kingdom is like the Pearl Merchant
The merchant is prepared to do the extreme, the radical, the uncomfortable, even the brave to secure for himself something of great value. That is what the kingdom of God is like.
The Father sent Jesus — His beloved Son — and sacrificed His life, to secure for Himself something of incredible value; you and me.
Likewise, we are charged to do whatever it takes for the sake of that which has incredible value and worth. That is what the kingdom of God is like.
May you be blessed as you walk in the way of the Kingdom today.