Among the most valuable of treasures is the pearl. In ancient times it was the most valuable of all.
In the mid-1800s in New Jersey a pearl rush was started after one lucky man discovered a huge freshwater pearl in a river. He sold it for $1,500.00 which would be like a million dollars today. Another pearl rush took off in Arkansas in about 1897 and lasted until 1909. Jacques Cartier bought his New York location for two strings of pearls. The value of pearls was even greater to those in the distant past. They were obviously difficult to locate underwater. The odds of finding a pearl in a mussel or oyster is slim, and the chances of finding one of good quality, color, shape and size…well, that is really huge.
Pearls are formed by particles of sand or some irritant getting inside the shell. The oyster or mussel then emits nacre to cover the annoying thing. This forms around the irritant. Layer after layer is emitted until the pearl is formed.
The value of the pearl is clear in the Bible. In fact, in the book of Revelation, John the Apostle, tells us each gate in heaven is made of a pearl. Look at this:
The twelve gates were made of pearls--each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass. Revelation 21:21 NLT
A gate to the city from a single pearl. That is enormous and the value beyond estimation. Imagine the pain of the irritant and the time involved in forming a single pearl of that size, and there are twelve of them. What pain could be so great and how could it be covered to become so valuable and then become the entrance to the city of God? Jesus’ suffering and death. His pain. God’s grace.
Jesus points to the value of the pearl in this parable.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it! Matthew 13:45-46 (NLT)
A pearl of great value was worth everything else. And that is the value of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is worth everything a person has to get it.
The pearls of our lives are the pains and scars that are covered by God’s grace. They come by our own actions or maybe someone else’s or just because we live in a broken world. They come into our lives and God can take them…all of them. Surround them with His grace and turn them into something beautiful and valuable.
The pearls are the story of your life. And when God takes one after another He can string them together into something of incredible value. Some stories will be all blessing and some will be filled with blunders. But your story of redemption includes daily being shaped, forgiven, and restored. Enjoy your pearls.