Matthew 13:45,46 NASB - “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
In this parable, Jesus is talking about one fine pearl. What is so special about this pearl that made the merchant go and sell ALL that he had? The reason is simple. This pearl had great value and the merchant recognized that the value of the pearl was much greater compared to the value of ALL that he had. So, he went and sold ALL that he had gladly to gain something of a greater value. The exchange seemed highly profitable in his eyes!
Imagine I have a friend who owns a home in the San Francisco Bay area and another in Wyoming. Suppose he calls me one day and says "Friend, you can have my Wyoming home just for 100,000 dollars". I may not get excited at his offer, because I don't see great value in the home in Wyoming. I won't see the exchange as profitable. As a result, I won't be willing to give away 100,000 dollars. But, if my friend offers his home in Bay area (where home values are much, much higher) for the same 100,000 dollars, I would get excited! Suddenly his offer will seem lucrative because I see great value in the home in Bay Area. I'll realize that, by giving away just 100,000 dollars, I can get a home that has great value. The exchange will seem highly profitable in my eyes. Therefore, giving up 100,000 dollars won't be difficult.
Do I see following Jesus, partaking of His nature and building the church as a pearl of great value? Do I recognize that everything that Jesus asks me to "give up" in this world is nothing compared to what He wants me to gain? Do I see the exchange as highly profitable? Am I treating Jesus like the home in Bay Area that has great value or am I treating Him like the home in Wyoming? When I lose sight of what I am gaining, it becomes difficult for me to give up what I have. But, when I see what I am going to have, it becomes easier for me to give up what I have.
When I see great value in Jesus, I will recognize that the cross that Jesus is asking me to take up every day is like giving away 100,000 dollars for a home in Bay Area! When I see great value in partaking of His nature, it would be easier for me to go through the uncertainties and inconveniences in life because I would realize that becoming like Jesus is far more important than having a predictable and comfortable life.
Romans 8:28, 29 NASB - And we know that God causes ALL things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.
When I see great value in Jesus, the conditions of discipleship (Luke 14:25-35) won't seem difficult. When I see great value in Jesus, it will be much easier to offer my "Isaac's" on the altar. I will be able to hold nothing back from Jesus in exchange for what He wants to offer me.
Apostle Paul saw "great value" in knowing Jesus. Consider what he says in this verse:
Philippians 3:8 NASB - More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.
Paul saw "surpassing value" in knowing Christ. That's why he was able to count ALL things as loss in order to gain Christ. Not only did Paul see great value in Christ, he also longed that others might see great value in Christ.
Ephesians 1:18,19 NASB - I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
Jesus once said - "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21 NASB). In other words, where my heart is reveals what I treasure! A simple test to find out whether Jesus is of great value (treasure) to me today is to look at my thought life. Are my thoughts always occupied with career, family etc or am I thinking about Jesus and His kingdom? Is my mind always set on the "cross" that I am carrying or is my mind set on what I am gaining through the "cross"?
Colossians 3:1,2 NASB - Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
I pray that God will help me see every day, the great value there is in following Jesus and becoming like Him. I believe He will.