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Eternity 124 - The Pearl Of Great Price

(Matthew 13:45-46 NKJV) "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, {46} "who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

The pearl merchant is a person who knows good value when he sees it. This is no sentimental shopper, nor is this a Hollywood starlet buying jewelry. This is a merchant whose job is the buying and selling of beautiful pearls. And he sees a pearl so astounding, so beautiful, that it puts the rest of his inventory to shame. It is also the pearl that will make him rich. Its the "opportunity of a lifetime", the chance to buy the Cullinor Diamond or have a Rembrandt in the gallery. People will come hundreds of miles just to buy this one pearl and the bidding war will be intense. He has the choice to keep on selling good pearls, or risk everything on one "great" pearl.

The merchant knows what he must do and liquidates his entire inventory and rushes out to buy the pearl of great price. His stock in everything else, his insurance policies, his side-bets, are all cashed in because of his utter certainty that he has found something so astounding that he must have it. Jesus is so grand, and the kingdom of heaven so valuable and so certain that we can cash in all our "side-bets" in life. We don't need anything else. Its not "Jesus and..." but "Jesus is enough".

Now there were probably dozens of other pearl merchants out there, looking at the pearl of great price, and "wishing". But in their minds they can't make the "leap of faith" , they think "not this month", "not if it means cashing in other inventory..", "who will buy it". Living by faith in Jesus Christ is not for those who like playing it safe. If Bill Gates sold two billion dollars worth of shares just to own the Cullinor Diamond we might think him insane. Until he sold it for five billion dollars ten years later. Art collectors, prime real estate, top jewelry, all take time to mature as investments - but pay a handsome dividend in the end. So it is with our faith.

There are those who sell their house and car and go to bible college and perhaps to the mission field. They are selling all for the "pearl of great price". But when that Day comes their "investment" will pay much greater dividends than those who played it safe in life. The Pearl will give a good return. Jesus wants you to see Him as valuable. He wants you to treasure Him. He wants you to demonstrate that His Kingdom matters to you and that you will make sacrifices to know Him and to inherit eternal life.

Love demands sacrifice and our sense of worth is built when others willingly sacrifice a little for us. Blessed are the children who grow up seeing their parents make sacrifices for them. Such children know they are valuable to their parents and are certain they are loved by them. But woe to the children whose parents and stingy and selfish, who never sacrifice for their children, never attend their games, never go out of the way for the children but expect the children to sacrifice for them. Such children grow up feeling worthless and unloved.

When I cancel appointments to be with my wife on some occasion she glows with love. My wife knows how much I value her by the amount I am willing to "give up" for her in daily life. And so it is with God. He knows how much we value the death of His Son, and the kingdom we will inherit, by how much we will give up for it. The "sacrifices' I make for my wife pay dividends a hundreds times over - how much more the sacrifices we make for God? He is the Pearl of Great Price, His kingdom is worth entering into and sacrificing for.

You will be slighting God if His service is less important than your own convenience. If President Bush sent you as Ambassador for the USA to Pakistan would you go? But if the King of Kings sent you as an ambassador for Christ to Pakistan - would you go? Is the astounding worth of Kingdom of God a reality in your life? The martyrs show us that Jesus is even worth more than life itself. While God seldom demands sacrifice, God is worth making sacrifices for.

Think about the sacrifices you may need to make to fully obey God. The sacrifice of being humble when rebuked or annoyed. The sacrifice of giving to church or missions. The sacrifice of time set aside for the work of the Lord. The sacrifice of going to Bible College or the sacrifice of living in an "undesirable" area so as to minister Christ and follow His calling. Or giving up your favorite TV program to spend time helping the poor. If one day you were faced with the merchant's choice - where you had to give up everything, for the one pearl of great price, for the kingdom of heaven - could you/ Would you? Is the kingdom of Heaven precious in your sight?