Monday, November 15, 2010

The Pearl of Great Value

“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.”

I love parables. Sometimes they seem so simple and yet are so complex.

Take this parable told by Jesus in the book of Matthew. It consists of two sentences and yet one could probably write a book on it.

Often in this parable we think of the “pearl of great value” representing the kingdom of God, however, Jesus doesn’t compare the Kingdom to the pearl but instead to a merchant in search for valuable pearls.

So Jesus says that the Kingdom of God is essentially like a merchant in search for something of value and he finally comes across a pearl of such great value he sells everything he has to obtain it.

You could go on and on with the good questions such as… Why did the man have to buy it? But I want to focus on something else that Peter Rollins brings up in his book “The Orthodox Heretic”.

We often think of the pearl being very valuable but in this parable the pearl is actually worth nothing and yet cost you everything. Think about it. Now that the merchant has sold everything he has in order to posses the pearl, what will he do for food tomorrow? Where will he rest his head at night?

In order to survive he would have to sell the pearl and therefore lose the pearl.

Your thoughts?


JustinGaynor said...

By pointing out what Rollins does, he makes it clear that once you possess that 'pearl' you still have to get on with it, life continues but has become wholly different.

No use going back to trading in pearls, you have received the pinnacle, you're never going to let it go and though you have nothing at present, you actually have everything and you can continue on with full joy and gratitude, having nothing to prove to anyone.

If what is true of Job is true here, even though the 'pearl' cost you was after all given it's proper weight/value (glory) will likely have your fortunes restored to you and then some AND everything will be held by you in proper order/context to the 'pearl' as it ought.

Jkub said...

Thanks Justin for expanding on this idea. I was hoping someone would run with it a little bit.