by Christine Sine
“Heaven’s kingdom realm can be illustrated like this:
“A person discovered that there was hidden treasure in a field. Upon finding it, he hid it again. Because of uncovering such treasure, he was overjoyed and sold all that he possessed to buy the entire field just so he could have the treasure.
“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.” (Matt 13:44-47 TPT)
A couple of weeks ago I noticed that every time I sat down in my office my eyes were drawn to the beautiful mother of pearl shell shining brightly in the light in my display cabinet. My pearl of great price I said every time I looked at it. It reminded me of the other pearl like objects in my collection – a peacock rock and laborite and of course my opals that sparkle with the same glorious opalescence of pearls. My pearl of great price hidden in plain sight in the midst of familiar objects I rarely take time to notice.
Not surprisingly, it is this magnificent shell that came to mind when I started to think about creating another contemplative garden. And so the garden above came into being filled with objects that I consider pearls of great price and discovered in the unexpected but ordinary places of my belongings.
I wasn’t really sure why I wanted to create this garden. It did not have any significance in the liturgical cycle of the year or in the cycle of the seasons either. Then I thought about the discernment process I have been going through and I realized that in this context it has a lot of significance.
Three questions have surfaced for me as I contemplate my garden:
- What have I “sold” or given up for Jesus, my real pearl of great price?
- What is the field I have bought because I thought there was treasure hidden it?
- What have I found in that field that really does qualify as a pearl of great price?
Here is what has come to me:
- I gave up family and friends in Australia to travel the world but gained family and friends throughout the world as a result and I have ended up with closeness to my family in Australia I would never have experienced otherwise
- I gave up a house in New Zealand I thought would be my forever home and lived as one “with no fixed abode” for many years, finding instead a place of belonging in God and eventually a home in Seattle that is more than I could ever hope for.
- I gave up the stability of medical practice in Australia and New Zealand and found instead a journey of vocational exploration that has been far richer than I could ever imagine.
- I gave up the financial security of medical practice for a life of wandering with few resources and found in the process the amazing faithfulness of God to provide in abundance for my needs.
- I gave up a life of rigid certainty and clear boundaries for one of uncertainty but creative openness where the boundaries of of life and faith were shattered and redefined. In the process I discovered the joy and delight of growing intimacy with a God who has no boundaries.
As I contemplate this list today I am overwhelmed with awe for all that I have gained because of my willingness to “sell” what I once thought was of great value to “buy” instead a relationship with Jesus who has become not just my Saviour but also my very special companion and friend. The treasures that God hid in the fields I “bought” on my journey through life have been rich and varied – not just pearls I feel, but also diamonds, sapphires, opals and many more that are valuable to me alone. Some are precious stones I still cannot name either because they are still partly buried in the field or because I may have dug them up but still have not identified them.
What Is Your Response?
Take some time this week to think about the pearls of great price that you have dug up throughout your life. What have you had to give up in order to buy the “fields” in which they were hidden? What did these “pearls of great price” look like? Why are they precious to you? What have they taught you about God and what it means to be a follower of Jesus?
Thanks Christine…,. I read your words immediately after having read these words by Henri Nouwen:
The Grateful Life
How can we live a truly grateful life? When we look back at all that has happened to us, we easily divide our lives into good things to be grateful for and bad things to forget. But with a past thus divided, we cannot move freely into the future. With many things to forget we can only limp toward the future.
True spiritual gratitude embraces all of our past, the good as well as the bad events, the joyful as well as the sorrowful moments. From the place where we stand, everything that took place brought us to this place, and we want to remember all of it as part of God’s guidance. That does not mean that all that happened in the past was good, but it does mean that even the bad didn’t happen outside the loving presence of God. … Once all of our past is remembered in gratitude, we are free to be sent into the world to proclaim good news to others.
(from “Here and Now”)
You have lived Jesus parable and the kingdom has come and there is so much more coming….
Amen to that – definitely a reflection of my sentiments. Thank you for sharing
The emphasis of the parables of treasure and pearl is that, if you wish to receive and participate in the KOG, the willingness to give up everything, is foundational. Your ‘risks’ and ‘reward’ show that Jesus can be believed.