Signposts: Daily Devotions

Sunday, September 7

Jesus said, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
—Matthew 13:45

This is a parable for those of us who are hard workers, achievers. The pearl merchant had made a career of searching for fine pearls. He knew his trade; he could spot a phony or a fake pearl a mile away. Undoubtedly, he was well respected and probably wealthy, too. 

But maybe in his heart of hearts he knew that life was more than achievement, respectability and material comfort. Maybe he felt that no matter how much he knew or how successful he was, something was missing.

One day he found one unique pearl, and he knew it was what he’d been looking for his entire career. The parable doesn’t say he bought it for one of his customers; far from it. Upon recognizing what he had, he sold all he had to buy this one pearl.

Imagine what that felt like, finding something so precious that you would give up everything to have it. Imagine how it would be to be so certain, so focused. That’s what it’s like to discover the Kingdom of heaven. 

How do we recognize such a thing? Obviously, it has nothing to do with acquiring something material. It has to do with knowing something, deep in our bones.  Here are some hints: When you get a lump in your throat, when you forget about accomplishing or achieving something, when you aren’t conscious of time passing, you are getting close to what the merchant felt. 

How you respond is, of course, up to you. Good searching!

Thank you, God, for the priceless pearl that awaits my discovery. May I have the wisdom to recognize it and the grace to accept it. Amen.

The Signposts for September are written by Margaret Jones and originally appeared on explorefaith in 2005.