Callous or Pearl

I was watching the movie “Hidden Figures” the other night and as an engagement gift, the character of Katherine Johnson was given a set of pearls. It seemed to be inferred that pearls were something that, “only white people had in those days”. The film takes place when many areas of the United States were still segregated by race. I’ve seen the movie twice and still have a hard time understanding how anyone could treat another human being like they did in “back then”. That however, is a post for another time. Looking back at the pearls, something that my wife does not have, this verse comes to mind.

Oysters (mollusks) make pearls which are formed by the soft tissue of the oyster. I immediately thought of a callous that is formed on the surface of the skin – something hard that comes from something soft. Not really the same but you’ll see in minute my comparison. The term pearl is also used as a metaphor for something rare or admirable. When I think about how people live their lives, they can either be a pearl or a callous. One is rare and admirable while the other is hard and often painful. Ironically, we use the term callous to describe someone who lacks pity or mercy. I’d suggest that our lives, simply as human beings, is that we care for one another and show compassion and mercy on those around us. We should all strive to be the pearls in someone else’s life. You’ll never know when something you do or say will become someone else’s pearl.

45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:45-46

I’ve been told that when searching for fine pearls, you will look through hundreds of them before finding the one that is just right. People are like pearls, you can search a hundred people but when you find one that is just right, you bring it into your life. Some of those pearls you marry and others become your dearest friends. Think about what you traded in (sold) when you found that great one. When you marry your pearl, you trade your biological family to start a new one. In your life, you come across hundreds of people but you have only have a few friends and even fewer close friends. We have sought the pearls in our lives and we can become pearls in other people’s lives.

God has looked at billions of people and still loves them all. He only wants the finest pearls to join Him in the Kingdom of Heaven. God gave us the laws to follow and wanted us to become sin free. Yet, we remain blemished pearls because we are not able to follow the laws perfectly. God then “sold everything” by sending His Son to pay for our sins so that we can have eternal life. We became God’s finest pearls that He bought from the slavery of sin. As John 3:16 said “Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Today, know that you are a precious pearl to God.

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Looking for Pearls

I’m writing this while on my return flight from Seattle after attending the National League of Cities – Conference of Cities for the last four days. I am on the steering committee for the Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee. We are charged with creating League policies and resolutions that move the issues of public safety on a national level and to congress. As we see too often, nothing is being done in Washington DC these days, so our work lately seems to for our own exercise. However, the rest of the conference was filled with information about emerging technologies to help cities progress, financial strategies designed to help cities emerge from the recession, transportation strategies and recreation program ideas. You could find something to learn about no matter what challenge your city faces or what your area of interest is in. Frustration aimed at the federal government was high; they are having an big impact on what happens at the local level. The final speaker however reminded us that it is local government where the work actually gets done. When people have a problem or need something, they don’t call their Senator, they call their Mayor and City Council. It took four days to get to that moment but it made the whole trip worth the time and expense. Of course, he said much more about our responsibility as local leaders and the impacts that we make on people’s lives; it was something that I needed to be reminded of. Every one of us has an impact on people in different ways, every day of our lives. I’m sure this was not the first time he made this presentation but today, he became my pearl; the one thing worth trading it all in for. You’ll never know when something you do or say will become someone else’s pearl. Take care of each other.

45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”  Matthew 13:45-46

I’ve been told that when searching for fine pearls, you will look through dozens before finding the one that is just right. People are like pearls, you can search dozens people but when you find one that is just right, you bring it into your life. One of those pearls you might marry and others will become your dearest friends. Think about what you traded in (sold) when you found that great one. In your life, you come across hundreds of people but you only have a few friends and even fewer close friends. God has looked at billions of people and still loves them all. The kingdom of heaven wants only the finest of the pearls. God gave us the laws to follow to become sin free. We remained blemished pearls because we are not able to follow the laws perfectly. God “sold everything” by sending His Son to pay for our sins so that we can have eternal life. We became God’s fine pearls that He bought from the slavery of sin. As John 3:16 said “Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Today, I realized that we are precious pearls to God, we have sought the pearls in our lives and we can become pearls in other people’s lives. It’s amazing how God worked all of this in the final minutes of a four-day conference.