Have you ever noticed how much we can glean from a very small parable? Read on...
One day a wealthy traveler stopped in at a shop located near the marketplace of a coastal city. The sign on the shop said, “Fine Pearls.” The traveler was always on the lookout for treasures and he asked the shopkeeper if he could see his merchandise.
The shopkeeper, a shrewd and evil man, showed the traveler some of his collection. He noticed the kind eyes of the traveler as he surveyed the pearls one at a time. His own eyes carried the glint of greed as he anticipated the question which the traveler was sure to ask.
Finally. “Do you have others?”
“Others?” queried the shopkeeper as he prepared to set the hook. “I have shown you my collection and it has some rare jewels, don’t you think?”
“Without doubt,” said the traveler, “but I heard a story in a faraway port and I wonder if it’s true.”
“A faraway port? What does that have to do with me?” The shopkeeper looked mystified.
“It has much to do with you, sir. More correctly, it has to do with the possibility that you have a pearl far more rare than any you have shown me. And, if that is true, I ask you humbly if I might see it.”
This time the shopkeeper reached deep within the folds of his clothing. He pulled out a small, velvet bag and poured one pearl into his hand. Holding it up to the light, he said, “Could this be what you are asking about?”
A look of deep joy ran across the face of the traveler. Voice quavering, he asked, “How much?”
“Well, sir, you obviously have an eye for beauty. You can tell as well as I that this is perhaps the most lovely and the rarest pearl you have ever seen.”
“Sir, no one would dare ask such a question unless they were a person of great means and could afford a great price.”
“Well, sir, obviously this pearl will cost far more than most could afford -- more than a king’s ransom or the dowry of a beautiful princess.”
Now, voice low and full of emotion, the traveler asked one last time: “How much?” He knew that, if he walked away, he would regret it forever.
“Why, sir, the only fit payment for a pearl such as this -- a jewel of such great value -- would be that which you value the most. I have noticed the boy waiting outside with your servants. He is obviously not one of them. And I, too, have heard stories about you. I have heard that wherever you travel, you always take your only son with you. If you want this pearl, he is the price.”
45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls,
46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Matthew 13:45-46 (New American Standard Bible)
To Him, YOU are the pearl!