Wednesdays with Jillene: priceless

What (if anything) is priceless to you?

An agreement on terms would probably be good here. In this case, I’m using priceless to mean: value beyond all price; willing to give everything for; nothing is worth more than.

Hard question to think on really. We might come up with answers: our family, children, spouse, friends, an heirloom…

But, if we’re honest if I’m honest, as I’m thinking about what is priceless to me… I have this dire situation scenario in mind. Like if a house fire was threatening to consume that which I hold most dear… what would I save? If I was in a hostage situation would I give my life so that someone else could live? or If I could only take one “something” with me on a desert island… what would that one thing be?

Those cases show us what I value for sure… yet I don’t think those doomsday storylines show what is priceless to me…

Because, I’m pretty sure it’s the everyday that gets to the heart of the matter.

Every.single.day we have moment by moment opportunities to show what is priceless to us… what we are willing to give everything for… what is of worth greater than anything else. Here is where I find myself convicted by what now appears a seemingly flippant declaration of that which is priceless to me. Because, when I’m honest, the things that are priceless in those tragic situations lose out in the every day to my selfish desires, I want my life my way, can’t you see I’m busy, maybe when you do what I want you to do, I’ll get to that in a moment/maybe tomorrow kind of life.

And I’m challenged by this question: What, of it’s own intrinsic value is priceless (worth everything that I have) to me?

My own fickle, conditional, self-centered actions show my character and maybe… maybe that’s why this parable is so hard for me to fathom. Because what is worth my everything… what is priceless?

45 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. 46 When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!

Matthew 13:44-45

This tiiiinnnnnyyy parable known as “the Pearl of Great Price” has kept me thinking for years. Truth be told, Jesus’ repeated phrase, “the Kingdom of Heaven” has held my attention because of how crazy, amazing it is that Jesus dropped these bombs of truth in parable form to teach us about the heart of God as we learn what the Kingdom (rule, reign) of God is like…

Jesus used stories from every day living to teach in parables… one problem for me: everyday living doesn’t look quite the same today as it did when Jesus spoke these words. There are times I find myself glossing over the meaning and this short parable has often been overlooked in my study.

Until one day I couldn’t ignore it any more.

So I spent time learning about merchants and pearls.

Merchant

The merchant is seriously and deliberately searching the world to secure the best quality and most costly items. It is his livelihood, and he is diligent to travel extensively, shrewd in business, and knowledgable in trade because he knows his efforts will be rewarded when he finds the best items and purchases them.

Pearl

As far as ratings are concerned, the AAA pearl achieves the best ranking. The highest-quality pearl is virtually flawless. The surface will have a very high luster, and at least 95% of the surface will be free from any type of defect. The pearl will be perfectly round, and have a mirror-like luster.

But try as I might, learning about merchants and pearls didn’t satisfy my curiosity about this parable. And then it finally hit me: it was what the merchant did when he found the pearl that spoke to deep places within my heart/soul/spirit.

He sold everything he had and bought it.

That pearl on its own was intrinsically priceless- worth everything the merchant had so he could obtain it. It wasn’t that the pearl had been stolen or was being held for ransom or threatened to be destroyed. In and of itself, the pearl was priceless to the merchant.

And that was where things started to get real. Because Jesus didn’t share this so I would know how to be successful in pearl trading business. He shared so I would know more of who God is, who I am in Him and what that means for how I should live. And in parables the “characters” of the story often represent God and/or us.

So the depth of the meaning of this parable starts rolling in: what would it mean to me if I lived with the reality that God is priceless… not just priceless in general terms but priceless to me… that God is worth e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. that I am.

Jesus’ answer to what is most important in Matthew 22, his command in Luke 9 to daily take up our cross, Paul’s plea in Romans 12 that we offer ourselves on the daily as living sacrifices… they come to a whole new depth when I confront the reality of what it means to live in light of the parable of the pearl knowing that God is priceless. That challenges me to change how I live- let me tell you.

Here is another aspect that also challenges me, something I think I daresay pretty much all of us need to hear:

You are priceless

To God you are priceless, worth everything.

Don’t shy away from hearing it, don’t mishear my theology because I know the truth of scripture… But just sit with that statement for a minute: you are priceless.

How do I get to such a thought? It goes back to the parable, ’cause in some parables the object is God and sometimes the object is us.

Think through this…

If we look at the parable as God as the merchant and we are the pearl… and we remember that God loved us so much that Christ willingly gave his all, his very life for us…

How would it change how you live to not be striving to earn your value but to live from your value? How would it change you to know that in God you are priceless?

That, my friends… the concept of priceless is one worth thinking on some more, finding the truth in the word of God because so many of us in so many moments of life are struggling…  and that struggle to thrive starts in the battle to know what is worth living for and what our value is…

priceless

~Jillene

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