. . . plastic pearls . . .

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”  (Jesus, quoted in Matthew 13:45-46, NASB)

Years ago, in a Christian college, a girl about my age gave a speech on treasure that struck a heavy blow to my notion that God might be pleased with me as long as I didn’t do any on the really obvious things you’re not supposed to do.

Do I show that the Kingdom of God is worth giving everything up for?

Her speech was on plastic pearls, and by refusing to identify what those pearls were, the message was intensely personal.  I couldn’t tune her out because she didn’t direct her attention to any one thing inapplicable to me. And that meant I had to think about my own plastic pearls.  That meant I had to face the truth that I had many necklaces dangling around my neck that did not belong to God.

The college student wore a strand of plastic pearls around her neck that were like other plastic pearls made for children: brightly colored, gaudy, garish, cheap, and unarguably fake.  As she talked, she wrapped her hand around the plastic pearls, clutching them in her fist.  She explained that these plastic pearls represented the things in her life that she didn’t want to give up to God, and, like a greedy child clinging to a tacky toy, she clung to what she wanted and felt like she had to had over what God wanted for her.

As long as she had a death-hold on those pearls, she could not participate in God’s plan for her life, like a five-year-old girl who refuses to take a genuine set of pearls over the plastic ones.  To a five-year-old, plastic pearls look more appealing.  They look more fun.  They look more exciting.  And they even look more expensive.  And they are, of course, more familiar.  There’s a pre-established relationship with the plastic pearls, but the real pearls represent the unknown.  There is nothing artificial about the real pearls, no airs, no flattery.  They just are.

But the plastic pearls are fake.  They are not beautiful.  And eventually, they bring scorn and contempt—not admiration and love—to the wearer.

Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
(Matthew 6:21, NLT)

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Photo by Amboo Who?, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/amboo213/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

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