The One Pearl of Great Price

"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls.
Who when he found One Pearl of Great Price, went and sold all that he had
and bought it"
Matt. 13:45-46

 Over the years men collect a jewelry box full of pearls.  In one drawer
they keep the pearls of "good works".  These pearls come in various sizes
and shapes.. depending on the sacrifice they made for them. Some were given
to them by the people they helped...but most of them they awarded to
themselves.  So many men are hoping to trade with God their valuable little exchange for eternal life. The problem is these pearls are
strung together on the rotting thread of self-righteousness. When tried by
fire in the day of judgment this thread will break and all the pearls will
be lost forever.  Their value is only in our imagination, for the scripture
says:  All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and that which is highly
esteemed among men is an abomination to God.
Another drawer is full of equally worthless pearls...the pearls of
"religious experience". These pearls are all polished to a brilliant shine
by constant handling. They are often taken out to admire...especially in
times of doubt.  There is the pearl of warm feelings and emotions
experienced at a time of past religious dedications. There is the pearl of
verses memorized, and doctrines learned.  There is the pearl of baptism,
church membership, and faithful attendance.  These gaudy trinkets are often
taken out and worn in public by their owners to impress other men with their
knowledge of God.  Like the dangling phylacteries off the robes of the
Pharisees these pearls are used to intimidate the less spiritual.  To those
who posses the One Pearl of great price, these people look as foolish as a
senile old lady overdressed with cheap outdated costume jewelry.  One says;
'But my mother and father gave me these pearls.  Why they have been in the
family for generations. They have very great sentimental value. They're
heirlooms. What will my family say if I get rid of them?' 
Dare we open another drawer? Here we find a collection of pearls that have
great value in this world, but like the others are worthless in the next.
Here are the pearls of "worldly pleasure, popularity, power, and
possessions".  Thy give great contentment to the flesh. They indulge the old
man with much enjoyment, but he can never get enough of them.  In the end,
they addict him to the world so that he becomes unconscious to the Spirit of
God and has no interest in the One Pearl of Great Price
All these pearls must be sold to posses the One Pearl of Great Price. You
can not wear the One Pearl of Great Price even as a center piece around
which other jewels are enhanced. No, it will be owned and displayed as a
solitaire, or it will not be worn at all. This pearl can not be the "center"
of attention.  Oh no.  He must get "all" the attention.  The wise merchant
gladly sells all he has to buy the One Pearl of Great Price.