I read a story about a man who found a precious item. As the story goes, it took place in the early 19th century.

It was one of the largest pearls known to man. It was as large as an egg, with a perfect round shape. The owner, not knowing the value of such a rare find, sold the pearl for next to nothing to a Russian pearl merchant.

The new owner was so thrilled about his great big pearl that he built a special inner chamber in his house to protect his newly acquired treasure. When friends would come over to see the pearl, they were amazed at what extreme security measures the man went to protecting his pearl. A series of locks had to be opened a certain way just to get to the box that contained the now famous pearl. When he finally reached his prize he would not allow anyone to touch it, he would simply let them look at it for a few minutes and return it to its resting place.

The fame of the pearl reached the palace of the emperor of Russia. He wanted the pearl for his collection so he offered the man a great sum of money, along with honor and rank in the Russian army.

However, the owner did not want to sell the pearl, it was the most important object in his life, and no amount of money or prestige would change his mind.

Since money and prestige didn’t work on the man, the emperor used another strategy — he had the man implicated in a conspiracy against the crown of Russia. The man had to leave his home in St. Petersburg without his wealth, except for his jewel of the sea.

He decided to relocate in the beautiful city of Paris. In a short period of time his story spread across the city as well as the fame of his pearl.

One day the Duke of Brunswick came with some of his friends to see the famous pearl. The owner unlocked the box with great care and deliberation, but when he brought out his most important possession in the world, something dreadful was wrong with it. His pearl had become clouded, as can happen to pearls. It had taken some type of disease and in a short time the pearl would turn into dust.

The man had given up everything in his life for this pearl that he thought would be priceless forever, only to have his world shattered by a disease that destroyed his world.

Matthew 14: 45-46 says, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls. Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”

What can we learn from this story? First, every person has something that is the most important thing, possession, relationship, etc. in his or her life.

Second, most people will go to great lengths to protect what is most valuable to them.

Third, most people would not trade, sell, or abuse what is most important to them.

Fourth, what is important to you should be something that is important to God. What is the most important person/object in your life? Is it something or someone that one day will become dust, or is it someone or something that will last forever? Don’t be surprised one day when you wake up and find out the answer.

Make sure Jesus Christ is the pearl of great price in your life. Remember; don’t give in to sin. Think about it!

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Vince Hefner is pastor of Rirst Baptist Church in Cherryville.

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