One of the shortest parables of the Lord Jesus is in Matthew chapter 13. Like most of Jesus’ teachings, its meaning and wonder extend beyond the simple 32 words of the text.
The Lord said the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for pearls. Then, he saw “one pearl of great price” and desired it so much he sold all he owned to buy it (Matthew 13:45-46). The merchant knew what was important to him and sacrificed everything he had.
The kingdom of heaven, Jesus said, is like this. This kingdom is not a physical one. It is spiritual. We may see it because it exists within the scriptures. It is on the earth, and it is in heaven. It is the church that Jesus built (Matthew 16:18; Colossians 1:18).
Jesus loved the church and gave himself for it (Ephesians 5:23). The church isn’t a human creation; its origin is divine for Christ is divine. It isn’t a club, a social gathering or a coffee klatch. It is a body of believers who are as moved by the church as the pearl moved the merchant.
What motivated the merchant was his love for the pearl. What motivates the child of God is a love for God to serve him in his church. For the faithful Christian, the church is the only place that is important in this life. All of the Christian’s thoughts and desires are for one thing and one thing only: serving God, dedicating everything to God, loving God is the pearl of great price.
This level of devotion is rare, but then so is the pearl. Is the service of God the “apple” of your eye? It should be. If you realize how much Jesus loves you and wants to save you it will become that “pearl.”