NBXpress Devotion from Pastor Ralph J. Mineo
In ancient folklore, pearls are droplets that fall from the moon into the sea. They are swallowed by oysters, and then solidify as precious pearls. The pearls are filled with moonlight.
We know, of course, the scientific origin of pearls. A tiny grain of sand or a tiny parasite gets into the soft membrane of an oyster’s shell. To stop the resulting irritation, a secretion coats the intruder with thin layers of a shiny substance called “nacre” also known as “mother of pearl.” The mollusk’s muscles expand and contract to get rid of the object. This movement, which lasts for years, gives the pearl its round shape.
Jesus once compared God’s kingdom to a pearl. “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. On finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
The image of the pearl is especially appropriate at the beginning of a new calendar year. Just as the formation of the pearl is a slow, gradual process, spiritual growth is slow and gradual. Spiritual growth takes time!
The formation of a pearl also takes effort, even suffering. There are irritating, even destructive, “foreign objects” of sin and evil that enter our lives. The central truth of the Kingdom of God is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. I’d like to suggest here that Jesus took the ugliness and destructiveness of sin and evil and created a priceless pearl, the church.
Jesus, like the merchant in one of his parables, is always in search of souls to transform and redeem. It’s God’s nature to give anything to get that “one pearl of great value.” So, God gave us Jesus, and Jesus gave everything, his life, to transform and redeem us. We are so valuable and of such great worth in the eyes of God that Christ died for us. We are God’s treasure. I invite you: embrace God’s truth that you, and all God’s people, are a pearl of GREAT VALUE?
Believers are precious gems, not filled with moonlight, but filled with divine grace, the very presence of God! God, in Christ, is always transforming us, always making us beautiful, valuable, lovely, and loved.