"He found one that was very valuable.
So he went away and sold everything he had. And he bought that pearl."
I'm glad the pearl is my birthstone because I've always appreciated its beauty and spiritual symbolism. I wonder if Jesus used the pearl to represent the kingdom of God because of where and how it forms. While most gems are dug out of their hiding places in the earth, pearls develop in living organisms - mainly oysters. (Which begs the question: How did the pearl referenced in Matthew 13:46 come to be in a field?) Pearls are the lemonade oysters make from foreign objects (lemons) that manage to wriggle their way into the shell then lodge in the soft, inner flesh. To protect itself, the oyster shell produces a substance called "nacre" with which it coats the "irritant." Layers and layers of nacre eventually produce a smooth shell around the unwanted substance and problems become pearls.
Pulling pearls from the water requires specific skills. So does pulling pearls from a day.
When something gets under our skin and digs into our peace, we're faced with the choice of leaving it exposed and painful or turning it into something beautiful. God wants us to recognize daily frustrations as potential pearls and to wrap them in holy nacre.
"My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble.
When you do, think of it as pure joy."
Here are a few frustrations you may have already faced today:
*Interruptions - There's usually a living being behind any interruption which allows us the opportunity to prioritize people above goals and tasks. We could take a few minutes to connect and listen, then find a definite time we can and will get with them later if it's impossible to stop what we're doing.
*Disappointments - Plan B often turns out to be better than Plan A if we can stop fussing long enough to find out how to make it work.
*Loneliness - We can wrap our loneliness in the nacre of reaching out to invite someone else in. Everyone is lonely sometimes.
*Needy people - We only add to our frustration and hurt when we discard these acquaintances. We can take charge of setting parameters for how much time we can invest in them without letting them take over our lives. Praying with them helps declare God, not ourselves, as the Problem Solver. Praying with other people also adds a thick layer of nacre to our own growing faith since we're "putting God on the line."
*New people - We can work a little harder to find common ground - it's there somewhere.
*Strained relationships - "Blessed are the peaceMAKERS" means we're to offer an olive branch, a smile, or at least a warm greeting as a layer of nacre on these distressing thorns.
Learning to transform thorns-in-the-flesh into pearls means one day we'll lay strings of these costly gems at Jesus feet and hear, "Well, done, my good and faithful servant. Add them to the gates -the pearly gates - of heaven."
“I have told you these things, so that you can have peace because of Me. In this world you will have trouble. But cheer up! I have won the battle over the world.”