I love the Parable of the Pearl of Great Value. The parable says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (v. 45-26 ESV). He sold ALL HE HAD to buy it. What a great pearl!
The parable speaks of the pearl of great value. So what about the lesser pearls? What about the things in life that are of lesser value? Consider for a moment a person who goes out searching for pearls, finds these lesser pearls, and gives everything away for them.
We want the greater pearl. It should be our goal in life. But there are times when we don’t live like we are going for the greater pearl. We toss it all for the lesser pearls. Today let us pray for the Spirit to reveal these lesser pearls in our life so that we can toss them aside. This merchant was looking for fine pearls but he found one pearl, one pearl of great value. May each of us turn our eyes from fine pearls and seek the one pearl of great value—the only one with eternal value.
“When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” – Matthew 13:36 [NLT]
Have you ever been called a “nobody”? In this world we spend many hours trying to show people that we are somebody, that we are important, that we mean something. There are books written about how to turn your life around and go from a nobody to a somebody. There are lectures and programs built around this idea of turning your life around from being nothing to being something.
God sees things differently. Yes, we all are nobodies traveling the earth, but we each have a purpose. We each are valuable. No one is more valuable than another. We are all important. We can all be somebodies. We simply need to find our way back to God and follow our purpose, God’s awesome plan. Trust me, it is an awesome plan, a plan we cannot even fathom.
Now being a somebody does not mean you will be a millionaire or a celebrity or even find great earthly success. But it is so much better. You are a child of the King. You will have eternity to enjoy. You are forgiven. You are redeemed. You are restored. These things make you a Somebody. Without Christ, we are all forever and always nobodies, no matter how hard you work and how much time and effort is put into changing your status. In Christ alone we are Somebody.
“But down the road the population of Israel is going to explode past counting, like sand on the ocean beaches. In the very place where they were once named Nobody, they will be named God’s Somebody. Everybody in Judah and everybody in Israel will be assembled as one people. They’ll choose a single leader. There’ll be no stopping them—a great day in Jezreel!” – Hosea 1:10-11 [MSG]
It is so easy to get caught up in a routine. Even with our relationship with God, we can get into a routine. In time we might even start to consider the fulfillment of this weekly routine as what matters. Well I attended the elder meeting and I made it to the prayer meeting. Well I tithe every Sunday. Well I made it to choir practice and I even have the solo. Well I have perfect attendance for this quarter. Well I have done my daily devotion each day this week.
Your relationship with Christ is not about meetings and checking off a list. Your relationship with Christ is not about works. Your relationship with Christ is not about offerings and sacrifices alone. We should want “a love that lasts.” Hosea 6 says, “I want you to KNOW GOD.” To know God.
God wants you to know Him and to show love. Yes we should aim to read our Bible daily, to attend church, to tithe, and to serve the Lord however He leads. There are works; however, there is something else that is more important. Relationship. Knowing God. Loving God. Never take your focus off of those things. When this is your focus, everything else comes with it. When you are focused on the meetings, on the offerings, then it becomes less about God and more about something else.
“I’m after a love that lasts, not more religion. I want you to know GOD, not go to more prayer meetings.” – Hosea 6:6 [MSG]
“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6 [NLT]
There is a lot of time and energy being spent in the world today just to be taken seriously. People feel like they must fight for attention. Advertising has become more bold and outrageous than ever. It is hard to get people to pay attention. Celebrities do wild stunts. We post odd status updates to social media just hoping to cause someone to listen. At work, we take extra time for a presentation because we want to boss to take us seriously and consider us for the next area of advancement.
Things are different when we look at how we get attention from people and how we get attention from God. We do not have to fight to get His attention. We do not have to outdo another to get His attention. We do not have to be wild and crazy and do something off the collar to get His attention. The Psalmist wrote that He always took him seriously. He always listens. He always is genuine and sincere.
To God, you are important. He ALWAYS takes you seriously. Every prayer. Every need. Every desire. Every hair on your head. Every piece of your life. It all matters to Him. So you can spend your day trying to get attention from someone, or you can recognize that you already have His full attention. His attention is the best.
“You’ve always given me breathing room,
a place to get away from it all,
A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
an open invitation as your guest.
You’ve always taken me seriously, God,
made me welcome among those who know and love you.”
-Psalm 61:3-5 [MSG]
When my friend came to me to take over at my work area, she said she was going to replace me. I told her that I was irreplaceable. She first took it as me joking that I was too good for her to take over where I was located; however, I said it again. I am irreplaceable. You are irreplaceable. No one is replaceable.
I worked jobs where I was a number. The boss said that he didn’t care if we came or went because he could always have us replaced. We didn’t matter. We had our licenses. We had our certifications. We could have a nice resume. In the end, we were simply a number and there was always someone else to fill our shoes if he decided to take our position away.
With God, you are irreplaceable. Now don’t get boastful. Don’t get puffed up over this statement. It doesn’t mean that God needs you. It doesn’t mean that you are better than anyone else. It means that God has a purpose for your life. He has something that only you and you alone, can do in this lifetime. So you are irreplaceable. You are beautiful. You are priceless. You are important. Jesus spoke about going after one sheep though the 99 were safe. We each have been the one sheep. Each one of us matter. You, my friend, are irreplaceable.
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?” – Luke 15:4 [NLT]
When I was walking my dog this morning, there were tons of ants gathering together on the sidewalk. My dog Max decided to walk around the ants in an awkward way to be sure to avoid them all. It was quite humorous to see a 75 pound dog trying to avoid the tiny ants, but there is great strength in numbers.
Each of those ants is important. Each one added to the number and helped to make Max feel the need to avoid them. Each one played an important role. It is the same way with people. Each person is important. Each person has an important role to play. Sometimes we feel like we like a tiny ant, like we cannot make a difference or that what we are doing does not matter. Do not let yourself listen to those lies.
You are important. You are special. You are loved. And YOU are called to do great things. The biggest problem is that we think of ourselves as a little ant rather than as one of many ants—a large group of ants. We were created as communal beings and we are to be part of a community—one body—the body of Christ. You are not an ant. You are a child of God, a member of the Kingdom of God. And you, my friend, can do great things—great things through Christ.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” – John 14:12 [NLT]
“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” – Isaiah 49:16 [ESV]
Although I was told time and time again to not write on my hand, I continue to write things on my left hand so I do not forget what is important. As I was teaching a lesson this past weekend, a child asked what was written on my hand. It so happened to be a verse from Nehemiah. The night before I was reading from Nehemiah and found some verses I wanted to revisit. Most of the time you will find that my left hand has a fresh verse or remnants of past verses that have faded with the numerous hand washings, and I am okay with my dirty hands. They are reminders of what is important to me.
It reminds me of the verse in Isaiah that notes how God has us engraved on the palms of His hands. Imagine all of us, His sinful, flawed children, all written on His perfect hands. Can you see how important you are to Him? Can you grasp that you, YOU right there, matter to Him?
Too often we get caught up on being received well by those around us. We want to be loved. We want to be appreciated. We want to feel important. At times we find ourselves discouraged in these areas of our life. Today is a good day to remember just how important you are to the Most High God. Remember, He has your name written on His hand. You don’t have to do anything to get your name there—He put it there because He loves you. You are special. You are important.