Our text this week is very much like the text we looked at last week. Matthew 13:44 spoke of a man who found a treasure in a field. With great joy, he sold all that he had so he could purchase it. Of course, the treasure is the kingdom of God. Now we come to the pearl of great price. It reads:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. (Matthew 13:45-46)
The pearl, like the treasure in the parable before it, is the kingdom of God. God’s kingdom is of more value than any treasure or pearl, but these images help the finite mind peer into the realm of infinity. In both cases, there is nothing of sufficient value in this world which should be kept in place of the kingdom. All that is upon this sphere of dirt and water will come to an end. The kingdom which the Lord promotes in this series of parables has no end. It is an eternal abode.
Consider how meticulous a merchant must be when looking to buy goods. He cannot buy everything. He must be selective. To not scrutinize the quality of the pearls he looks at would be careless and make him an easy target for fraudulent wares. For the merchant to do this, he must have knowledge of the product in question. The man in our parable knew pearls. When he saw one pearl of great value, he bought it.
Sacrifice Is Necessary
It is noteworthy that he could not keep all that he had and acquire this pearl at the same time. There was a cost to be paid in order to obtain it. He had to sell all that he had (likely all his other pearls), so that he could afford to buy this single pearl. Being a wise and thorough merchant, he knew it was worth more than all he possessed. So, he bought it.
In our society, it is not uncommon for people to buy things they cannot afford, and simply put it on credit. The concept of sacrifice in order to obtain something desired is foreign to many. Many want to “have their cake and eat it too.” We might find ways to put off sacrifice in things we want in this life, but when it comes to the kingdom of God, there is no financing option.
Give God Our Lives
Though at times financial considerations are needed when coming to the Lord (see Jesus’ discussion with the rich ruler, Luke 18:22), for most such is not an issue. The point of this parable is not that we must sell all our goods in order to be a child of God. Being a citizen of the kingdom of God is not a matter of forfeiting wealth or goods. It is a matter of putting our lives into the Lord’s hands. If we want to be the Lord’s, we cannot continue to be our own. If we understand the true and eternal value of the kingdom of God, then we will gladly say as the apostle Paul:
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for Me. (Galatians 2:20)
If we are not willing to give up all for Christ, then we have failed to see the great value in His kingdom. Do not be deceived by things which have value in this life alone, and set them above the Lord. Only in the Lord can we find eternal life. Only in the Lord is heaven our eternal home. Now deceased gospel preacher, Dee Bowman, had a common phrase near the end of sermons. He would say, “If you miss heaven, you’ve missed it all.” Amen! Even if we had manifold success in this life, if we did not prepare for eternity, we failed. Don’t fail!
Put the Lord first, serve Him, and He’ll prepare for you a heavenly home.