Pearls of Great Price

You may be familiar with Jesus’ parable in Matthew 13, when he explains how the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant who finds a choice pearl, and then sells everything he owns so he can go back and purchase it.

I love how the Passion Translation reiterates this: “Heaven’s kingdom realm is also like a jewel merchant in search of rare pearls. When he discovered one very precious and exquisite pearl, he immediately gave up all he had in exchange for it.”

One afternoon, while I was sitting painting the nails of one very sweet girl from the Hope House, I felt the Lord drop those same words in my heart like a Valentine’s Day card: “She is my pearl. She’s rare. She’s precious. She’s exquisite. And I gave up all that I had in exchange for her.”

I immediately felt goosebumps as I looked up from her nails and smiled, but then I had to wonder—does she know this? Like know this, know this. And not just her, but the 50 other girls she lives with? And not just them, but what about their sisters and mothers? Does her family realize this?

I went home still pondering, “Lord, how can I communicate this? In a reality where she’s working through past traumas, how can she look in the mirror and see herself as a pearl? You should have ________*insert other missionary with better Spanish* share this truth because she is way, way better at communicating and would be so effective!” (this was definitely my Moses moment as all of me was exclaiming “God, please use someone else with better language skills because you know I don’t speak well and I’m scared to death!”)

And so very practically the Lord asked “Who said you needed to speak well? Instead will you exchange your time for her time? Will you exchange your desire for comfort to show her comfort? And when you feel annoyed, or ineffective, or unsuccessful, or just worn out, will you go back and just be present to show that she is the most precious?”

*cue mic drop*

And clearly my heart says yes, yes, and yes.

But maybe you’re like me and typically tempted by wanting to do what’s cheapest, what’s easiest and what’s most convenient for number one (you/me!), but that’s not how we are to treat pearls—and more importantly, that’s not how Christ treated us when he made His great exchange.

Pearls, are expensive, they’re precious, they take a lot of time and patience, and yet they are worth every part of the exchange. May we all seek out the pearls God has placed in our lives, and like Christ, exchange what we have for them.

—Karri Woolley