The Pearl of Great Price
by Rich Murphy
One day, a jeweler who had a little free time decided to go to the flea market and look around. He wasn't looking for anything in particular, and wasn't planning on buying anything. All he wanted was a relaxing way to spend the afternoon.
He found the usual assortment of junk at the various stalls. It was amazing what people were selling, and even more amazing what other people were buying. As he walked around, he was amused by what he saw, and even picked up a couple of "bargains" himself.
As he wandered, he saw a little booth over in the corner. It didn't seem to get much business, and in fact didn't seem to have much merchandise to offer. This made the jeweler curious, so he decided to go check it out.
As he approached the booth, he saw a friendly looking man with a beard standing behind the table. There was only one item on the table, and it wasn't until he got close that he realized what that item was. It was a giant pearl! Not just any pearl either, this was the finest pearl that the jeweler had ever seen. "Wow, wouldn't that look great in the window of my store," he thought." He had to have that pearl!
Trying unsuccessfully to appear nonchalant, he spoke to the man behind the table. "That's quite a pearl you've got there. I've never seen one quite like it."
"Yes," the man said, "it's a rather rare specimen."
"Uh," the jeweler continued, not being sure how to continue, "how much do you want for it?"
"Well, that depends. I'll tell you what, I'll sell it to you for all you've got."
That made the jeweler stop for a minute. "All I've got," he thought. "This guy's trying to take me to the cleaners. But I've got to have that pearl. It's obviously worth more than anything I have."
The jeweler decided to try and dicker. "Granted, that's a very valuable pearl, but I'm not sure it's worth everything I've got. How about setting a firm price?"
"No," the seller said, "I'm quite sure that this pearl is worth more than you've got. So I already know I'm giving you a bargain. That's the price, take it or leave it."
This was getting a little hard for the jeweler, but he finally decided it was worth it, he had to have that pearl. "Okay," he said, reaching for his wallet and checkbook, "here you go. You can have all I've got. Here's my money, my credit cards, my checkbook, everything."
"Thank you," the man said, "and here's your pearl. I'd be careful with it if I was you."
"Don't worry about that," the jeweler replied, "with what I paid for this, I'll be very careful with it. I'll just take it now, and put it on display in my store window."
"Store window," the man asked. "I thought you said you'd given me everything for that pearl."
"Oh, yeah, I did, didn't I? Well, okay, you can have my store too. It's still a good deal. Stop by on Monday, and I'll sign whatever contract you want, giving it to you.
"Thank you," the man replied, "I appreciate your honesty."
"Well, thanks, I'll be going now, I've got to put this is my car before I drop it or something."
"Did you say car," the man asked. " I thought you said you'd given me everything for that pearl."
"Oh, I did, didn't I." The jeweler was starting to think this was getting tricky, he'd have to watch what he said. Then he looked at the pearl again. "Oh, what's the value of a car, compared to this. Here, take the car too. Here's the keys."
"Thank you again," the man said. "It's been a pleasure doing business with you."
"Uh, yeah, thanks," muttered the jeweler, "I'll be going now, I'll uh, uh, just take this home and show it to my family now."
"Home, family," asked the man, "did you say you had a home and a family?"
"Oops, I did it again," thought the jeweler. "Yep, that's what I said."
"I thought our deal was for everything you had."
"Ouch, he's got me," said the jeweler. This was starting to get out of hand. "Okay, okay, yes I did say that. You can have my home and family too. It's still a good deal."
"Thanks," the man replied, "I hope you're not disappointed."
"No, I'm not at all disappointed at all," said the jeweler, "even though it's cost me much more than I expected, I still think I've gotten a deal here. Thank you. I'll just go now, I hope you enjoy everything I've given you. I know I'll enjoy my pearl."
The former jeweler turned to go. He had his pearl, that was enough. But, as he started to walk away, the man interrupted his thoughts once again. "Excuse me friend."
"Now," the man started, "you've given everything to me in exchange for that pearl, right?"
"Yes, that's right."
"Okay, the Lord responded, I'd like you to do something for me."
"What's that," the broken former jeweler responded.
"This car that you gave me," he started, "I want you to remember that it's mine now, but you take it with you. I want you to take care of it, and use it. But, most importantly, I want you to use it for me. You know what I'd want done with it, just do that for me."
"Well, gee, thanks," the jeweler responded, brightening.
"That's not all," the Lord said, "this house and family that you gave me. Now, they're mine, and I take responsibility for them. But, do you think you could be my steward, live there, and watch over them for me?"
"Sure, " the jeweler responded, "I've been doing that anyway."
"Yes, you have, but there's a difference now. Since they're mine, I expect you to act towards them like I would. Treat your family like I would. Use your house like I would, especially to help the poor, the orphaned, the widows, and the needy."
"Gosh, I'm not sure I know how to do that," said the jeweler.
"You'll know when the time comes," explained the Lord. "I'll send my Holy Spirit to tell you what I'd do, and here, take this too, it's a copy of my Word. As you read it, you can learn about me, and how I take care of my family."
Then the Lord continued. "While we're at it, I want you to manage my jewelry business for me too. That way, you'll have the money you need to take care of my home, car, and family. I only want the tithe, that's ten percent of the profits. You can find out how I want it run by looking in my Word, too. Oh, and one last thing, take the checkbook and wallet. You'll need to watch over my money as well. Be sure to put it where I want it."
By this point, the jeweler was amazed. He'd given up everything to get the pearl, and now he had it all back. "Do you want me to give the pearl back?" he asked.
"No," the Lord replied, "we made a deal. You can have the pearl, and enjoy it to the fullest. All I want, is for you to use everything you've given me as I would."
"Wow," thought the jeweler, "what a deal." "Thank you," he said, "I appreciate you giving me the pearl, and allowing me to become a steward of everything I've given you. I hope I can live up to your expectations. By the way, what's you name?"
The Lord replied, "I am Jesus."
|"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."
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Copyright © 1999 by Richard A. Murphy, Maranatha Life.
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