The investment of a lifetime
September 1, 2014
Most people agree that Jesus Christ was a master teacher and his usual teaching method was by parables. A parable is simply, showing a similarity in common and familiar human experience, to a moral or spiritual truth. For example, here is a short parable recorded in verse 45 of the 13th chapter of St. Matthew; "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.
In the shaky economy of today's world, more careful thought is given to potential investments. They must have reasonably certainty of profit. More importantly, they must have a low risk factor. "Buy gold" says one, and another says, "buy silver" and yet another says, "buy real estate or stocks. In the parable we find a businessman who does something few financial consultants would ever advise. He put all his eggs in one basket, so to speak.
As a successful businessman, the merchant has three roles. He was a seeker and had to know where to look for pearls. He also had to recognize quality and value. And, he also had to know something about marketing. By the way, pearls in Biblical days were enormously more valuable than in today's market.
The routine roles of the merchant was drastically changed when he found something he never expected to find. It was a perfect pearl of extraordinary size. It was of such value at such a bargain price that he immediately and deliberately committed to buying it. Suddenly, his normal business routine changed. He becomes a buyer of what he had not intended to buy and a seller of assets he had never planned to sell. The spiritual lessons intended by the Lord are several but two among them are particularly important. If a person is truly seeking meaning and purpose in life his search will inevitably lead him to believe and receive the Savior who is the Lord Jesus Christ. In Matthew 7:7 Jesus says, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
Jesus is the pearl of great price in the parable and the value of possessing Him in the pursuit of the blessedness and happiness of life is immeasurable. At any price and on any terms, to know and serve the God who created us, is an unbelievable opportunity.
But, in addition to this lesson, is a deeper spiritual lesson that those familiar with the Christian doctrine of redemption will recognize. It is that Jesus Himself is the merchant and a human life is the pearl of great price. God knows that every human being has incredible potential value because He has built it into our humanness. So great is this potential, that Jesus laid down His own life to redeem us so that He could bring out in willing hearts, incredible beauty and value.