The Beautiful Pearl
July 27, 2008
The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor
Montgomery United Methodist Church
45"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, good morning! Our topic and our title today is ďThe Beautiful Pearl.Ē Back in Jesusís time, when Jesus was speaking to His followers, they deeply cherished the gem of the pearl. The pearl was not only something of great value; it was something of cherished beauty. You see, people of that day loved to take the pearls and just look at them and spin them around in the light. They were a source of enjoyment for them. They enjoyed looking at the milky radiance of the pearl; they enjoyed the mystic beauty that they could see in it; they enjoyed the rainbow colors that would emanate from its center. A pearl was a thing of value, and a pearl was a thing of beauty.
Jesus said that a certain man wanted to have a most beautiful pearl. He went out and he found it. It was very expensive, so he went out and sold everything he could, just so he could buy that pearl. And when he did, oh! what joy was in his heart. The good news this morning, my friend, is this: you have such a pearl! You have a pearl of great value. Each and every one of you does. Thatís what Jesus came to tell us. What is that pearl? That pearl, my friend, is your faith.
Iím sure you have many pearls in your life Ė people you love, your home, your way of life, your art, your talent, so many beautiful pearls. But Jesus said thisóplease remember that you have one pearl that is of greater value than anything, and that pearl is your faith, your faith in God, your faith in Jesus Christ. No one will ever take it from you, and it will bless you and satisfy you and bring you joy your whole life long. That pearl of faith will give meaning to your life, always.
I know, in growing up with my parents, even when times were hardest, we had our faith. The saddest moment, I think, in my growing up years, was when my sister passed away at 32. But faith was strong, and my mother taught me that even in the worst of times, faith can bring strength. I remember her sitting in her chair during that difficult, difficult time, singing, ďJesus, Savior, pilot me over lifeís wild, restless sea.Ē She sang; her faith was strong, no matter what. The pearl of great value is yours.
The pearl of great value can bring you energy, energy here in the church when we do wonderful things together, when we sing the Lordís praise, when we hear Cheryl play the flute, when we hear Laura Bell play the organ and piano, when we sing, when we laugh, when we feast together, when we share our faith together. Our faith brings us energy.
And our faith brings us deep, lasting joy. All your life long, your life with the Lord, your life in the church is going to bring you joy, like that priceless pearl, glimmering with rainbows in the sun.
Before I go away on vacation, my friend, Iíd like to share with you one story about faith. This is a story I share with folks especially when theyíre facing a challengeósay, in raising children or in dealing with other people or when they feel theyíre struggling with something, frustrated because they canít get control over something. Itís a parable about faith. Itís called the story of the kite.
Now, I look forward this summer to going down to the shore and flying kites on the beach. I love kites. I love single-string kites. I donít the two-string stunt kites. Thatís too, I donít know, active for me or something. I like the single-string kites that go up, that you watch fly like the clouds. I have some favorites called Conyne Delta. Itís a triangular kite with a triangular box. Itís a steady flyer; itís a good, solid kite. I want to tell you a story about it, and maybe you can apply the story to your life.
When you fly a kite, the best wind is a southerly wind. If the wind is coming out of the south, south-southeast, south-southwest, youíve got a good wind for a kite. With a nice steady breeze, that kite will go right up, and you can watch it fly with the clouds. Itís a wonderful breeze.
But if the breeze that day happens to be out of the west, itís an unsteady breeze. Itís an unreliable breeze. When youíre watching your kite fly, a terrible thing can happen. As itís going up, you might watch it veer to the side and start to turn around and head to the earth. Thatís a very low feeling, my friend, when that happens, especially if the kite is heading toward a group of people walking along the boardwalk. Thatís a terrible feeling.
So, what do you do? You see that your kite is going downówhatís the intuitive thing to do? Reel it in! Absolutely, thatís the intuitive response! Get that kite in as fast as you can. You want to get control over it right away. But I guarantee you thisóif you do, if you try to get control of the kite and reel it in right away, one thing is going to happen. Do you know what will happen? The kite will nosedive; it will go down faster.
Itís the intuitive thing to reel it in, but if you see that your kite is changing direction, if things arenít going your way, if things are fighting you, the right move is to give it more string. Itís counter-intuitive. Youíd think that would make it go down. But you give it more string, and what will happen almost every time is that the kite will catch another thermal, right itself, and fly straight again. And then, when it catches the right breeze, when the time is right, you can reel it on in, nice and easy.
I offer you that story because you may run into a situation that requires that kind of faith Ė give it more string, let it right itself, and bring it on in. Oh, dear friend, your faith has so many treasures attached to it. That pearl of great price that is yours can bring you energy and joy and meaning in your life. I urge you Ė and the Lord Jesus Christ urges you Ė to cherish it and to enjoy it.
One last thought before we goóI believe deeply in my heart that you are Godís precious pearl. I believe that you are Godís pearl of great value. Yes, it is you that He holds in His hand, and cherishes and loves through and through. You are Godís pearl. How do I know? The Bible tells me so. God sent His only begotten Son, not to be the worldís judge, but that the world may be saved. Thatís you and me.
Wonít you go forth in that knowledge this week? Wonít you go forth knowing that you are Godís precious pearl and that He holds you dearly in the palm of His hand? Because, God loves you. I do, too. Have a blessed week, and a wonderful summer. Amen.
© 2008 Anthony J. Godlefski