The pearl is a beautiful gem stone. All other gems are taken from the ground by man. However, this gem is formed by one of God’s creation. I had learned in school that pearls were formed by a grain of sand entering into an oyster shell and irritating that oyster. This causes the oyster to deposit layers of mother-of-pearl. In my research, I discovered that the irritant is rarely from a grain of sand but typically from parasites, organic material (ingested when the shell opens for feeding) or other broken pieces from other parts of the oyster’s body.

Two beautiful analogies can be seen when looking at the pearl. The Lord Himself compared the Kingdom of Heaven to a pearl of great price. The merchant found this pearl of great price and sold all he had to purchase it. This merchant had to be willing to sell everything in order to buy this pearl. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mar 8:36) A major hurdle for unbelievers is that they do not wish to part with their sin or worldly ways. Repentance has a cost – forsaking known sin for salvation is not easy but necessary. I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luk 13:5) Otherwise, the unrepentant sinner is no better than these disciples who followed Jesus but could not continue to do so for His teachings were too difficult for them. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? (Joh 6:60) From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. (Joh 6:66) It’s not that Jesus’ teachings were so intellectual, they could not understand what He was saying. Jesus taught repentance and salvation but they did not believe. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. (Joh 6:64) Don’t you find it interesting that those unbelievers who chose not to walk with Jesus were described in Chapter 6, verse 66 (666)? They went the way of the devil in this verse. I love how every jot and tittle was inspired by God – even the chapter divisions and verse markers.

Another wonderful analogy is to the Christian’s life and how the pearl is formed. As believers, the Holy Spirit brings convictions which form us into the image of Christ. And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: (Col 3:10) We will have trials and tribulations in our lives – each one teaching us and growing us spiritually – each layer making us more like Christ. With each one, we learn to draw nigh to Him. Just as the irritation in the oyster produces a pearl, our trials and tribulations will strengthen our faith and conform us into the image of our Saviour.

I also noticed that there are different types of irritants which bring about this pearl of great price: parasites, organic material, other broken pieces and occasionally that grain of sand. All sources were different but all produced a pearl! Our trials, like the pearl, come from various sources also. The parasite in the Christian’s life can be those unsaved friends or those we think to be friends. Noah Webster defined a parasite in his day as:

2. In modern usage, a trencher friend; one that frequents the tables of the rich and earns his welcome by flattery; a hanger on; a fawning flatterer

No wonder we are warned not to be unequally yoked. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Co 6:14) These parasitic friends can produce quite the irritation in our spiritual lives and yield tribulation. You become who you hang around with and we must guard ourselves in this area. Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: (Pro 22:24) The key here is to grow from it and not repeat it. This is a trial that we can avoid if we heed the Word. It is also a trial that will build us and form us as we grow from our experiences.

The second irritant is organic material which I liken to the world’s goods and what the world offers. We are not to love the things of this world. It is difficult to control the lust of the flesh. However, in so doing we are building up our pearl – we are being conformed to Christ’s image Who is the pearl of great price. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 Jo 2:15) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1 Jo 2:16)

Notice the pearl is also formed by broken pieces from inside the oyster’s body. What a beautiful comparison to the believer letting go of sin in our lives – breaking away from sinfulness and being more and more like Jesus. When we are broken, we are ready to receive what the Lord has to teach us. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (Psa 34:18 ) As a broken vessel in the Potter’s Hand, we can be molded and reshaped into a vessel unto honour. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. (2 Ti 2:20)

Lastly, on occasion that one grain of sand can produce a pearl as well. Do you realize how small a grain of sand is? A grain of fine sand is measured between 1/8 mm – 1/4 mm!! No matter how small the trial you are going through, God will still use it to produce this pearl – conforming you into the image of Christ, the ultimate pearl of great price.

What trials and tribulations are you experiencing today in your life? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit of God to conform you into the Saviour’s image? What kind of pearl are you producing in your spiritual oyster? Are you producing a pearl at all? It’s only through our submissiveness to changing as we experience these irritations that we produce that pearl. If we do not yield to the Holy Spirit’s convictions and forsake sin, we won’t yield a beautiful pearl. But a yielded vessel will grow from each trial and will become more and more like that Pearl of Great Price, the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

More Like the Master
by Charles H. Gabriel

More like the Master I would ever be,
More of His meekness, more humility;
More zeal to labor, more courage to be true,
More consecration for work He bids me do.

Refrain

Take Thou my heart, I would be Thine alone;
Take Thou my heart, and make it all Thine own.
Purge me from sin, O Lord, I now implore,
Wash me and keep me Thine forevermore.

More like the Master is my daily prayer;
More strength to carry crosses I must bear;
More earnest effort to bring His kingdom in;
More of His Spirit, the wanderer to win.

Refrain

More like the Master I would live and grow;
More of His love to others I would show;
More self denial, like His in Galilee,
More like the Master I long to ever be.

Refrain

~Job 28:18 No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom [is] above rubies.

 

~Matthew 13:45-50 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. 47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I heard a message recently where the preacher said that there were three things that were precious in this world: pearls, diamonds and gold. I thought it would be nice to cover these precious items over the next three days and see what we can learn from these precious items, but from a biblical perspective πŸ™‚ We’ll start off with pearls.

The first time the word “pearl” is mentioned in the Scriptures is in Job 28:18. Job is trying to explain the worth of wisdom. There’s a reason why a pearl is mentioned here for everything in God’s Word is there for a reason and that is to teach us.

Do you know how a pearl is made?Β As an oyster grows, the shell must also grow. Within the oyster is an organ called the mantle. It’s this organ that produces the shell from the food which the oyster ingests. The mantle produces the material called nacre – this is what lines the inside of the shell. When a foreign substance enters between the mantle and the shell, it causes an irritation in the mantle. It’s like having a pebble in your shoe πŸ™‚ When this irritation occurs, the oyster tries to cover up the irritant with more nacre. Eventually, a pearl is formed πŸ™‚ What a beautiful result from an irritant!!!

So what can we learn from the pearl? Do you have irritants inΒ your life? We all do, don’t we? Those irritants in life are able to help us form the pearls in our lives πŸ™‚ Christ gave us our first “pearl,” known as the pearl of great price (our salvation).

The rest are created by us. Just as the oyster is responsible for covering his irritants with his nacre, so are we responsible for covering our irritants with our own nacre, God’s Word πŸ™‚ After our salvation, our lives can/should produce more “pearls” as evidence of our walk with the Lord, amen? Each time we experience an irritation and apply that “nacre” (the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, peace, joy, patience, etc.) to overcome each irritant, we are working on building beautiful pearls πŸ™‚ We need to gain wisdom from God’s Word (that precious nacre) and allow it to speak to us and to “cover” our irritants. Each time we put another layer over our irritant, we are able to handle that irritation better than the time before – great or small!

So how many pearls will you end up “producing” in your Christian walk? Learn from the oyster and its nacre – use your nacre, the Bible, to help you cover your irritations in life πŸ™‚ Tomorrow we’ll take a look at diamonds and see what we can learn from them!