Early Friday Faith Talk: The Pearl of Great Price

When I was a child, sometimes ends would not meet. We would have to put things in hawk (pawn them). The television would go if things weren’t too bad, the wedding rings would go if they were dire. I had a little ruby ring that was lost to the pawn man. You can pawn things with resale value.

You cannot hawk the pearl of great price. The world cannot and will not understand the Kingdom of God. It is as foreign to them as jewels are to swine. There is no way to convince a mocker that the life of God in Christ in the Church is worthwhile. Its power is not one they appreciate. You cannot control God’s gifts or mass produce them for consumption.

Pat answers travel far because they do not stick to any wound. They do not aid healing. Their uselessness is the reason for their ubiquity.


The pearl, though, how it shines in the darkness. How impossible it is to describe. Artists have mimicked pearls in paint and apt words. But to hold it, to behold it, this gift worth more than all you have – when you see it and reach for it, you know its value.

Stretch out your hand toward the Kingdom, and every strength flows through it. Every foe tries to block it. Every bill comes due. But do not get distracted. This pearl cannot be hawked in exchange for bills or trials. Its worth obliterates them. Foes beware! The pearl comes with guardians of its own to refresh the seeker and rebuff the foe and obstacles.

Perhaps the pearl was given into your tiny hand when you were a baby. Perhaps you cut your teeth on it.

Maybe you found it shining in a box of heirlooms in your youth. It caught your eye, and you worked to make your life a setting for it. Perhaps you are an ornament of grace and joy.

Maybe you saw it in the mud when your eyes were washed out with tears. Maybe it was the only light in the gloaming at the end of a weary day.

Treasure it. Do not worry if it is not understood. Walk with those who stretch their hands/minds/voices, their checkbooks/studies/paintbrushes, their weary limbs and stewpots towards it. For anyone who stretches and reaches out toward that pearl will find it. They will understand though you cannot explain They will reflect its light into your yearning and pull with you in struggle. They will cry with you, “How long?” and rejoice when you hear, “This day.”

They will wrap your stiff fingers around it and call you a light bearer when you make it. They will sing of receiving the light. And when you fall down and drop every good thing in the muck and the crud, they will help you up and wash you and wash the pearl with their compassion until you can see again its worth. And you will see your worth, for you have the pearl. Then, you will not hawk yourself either.

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