Casting and Clutching your Pearls
Sharing the Gospel is the command of the Lord, the joy and duty of a Christian and often times where believers struggle most in their walk with Christ. Either we labor too long in trying to reach the obstinate mockers and become gravely discouraged or we find ourselves around the rankest of sinners and immediately tuck and run for the nearest exit. Mission abort.
It’s the undiscerning pearl “casters” vs. the fainting pearl “clutchers”.
We can be either one at any given time. I know I have! These are not identities I believe a Christian has continually. There are moments, maybe many, where we tend to fall in one or the other category depending on the situation.
Why am I talking about pearls?
Pearls are mentioned a few times in Scripture, usually used metaphorically in communicating the value of the Word and Kingdom of God (see Job 28:18, Matthew 7:6, 13:45-46.)
Pearls were the most valuable gem obtainable at that time. If you had pearls, you had a fortune. They were THE symbol of great wealth. They were the rare diamonds of the time. Their beauty and, most importantly, what it took to acquire them attributed to their high value.
A pearl diver in ancient times would risk a lot to get them. Dr. John MacArthur explains,
“Basically, what they did was tie rocks to their body and then jump off the side of the little boat and go to the bottom amidst all the monsters of the deep that they would know little about, and the sharks and whatever else, and they would scour the bottom in the mud trying to come up with those oysters, holding one long deep-drawn breath, and fearing lest they go too deep and burst and die. And they would come up with these treasures.
And when once discovered, a pearl that was of perfection and beauty would be worth literally an unnamed price, incredibly valuable. So valuable are they that the Talmud says, “Pearls are beyond price.””
(taken from: Entering the Kingdom (gty.org) )
Once a fine pearl was found and brought to surface a sensible diver would never think of chucking it into the most obviously filthy and useless place. No way. How senseless that would be.
Even more so for Christians to do so regarding the holy things of God.
Casting Your Pearls
“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6
This is talking about the precious Truth of God, the pearls beyond price.
(To clarify, the Mormon’s “The Pearl of Great Price” is not to be viewed as biblically sound. To know why you can check out this link: What is The Pearl of Great Price in Mormonism? | GotQuestions.org.)
No one would think to give their most precious possession to a filthy, wild animal for it to trample underfoot.
So who are the spiritual swine this verse is talking about exactly and why not share the Gospel with them? Aren’t we to share Christ with all the world? (Mark 16:15, John 17:18)
“Swine” doesn’t refer to all unbelievers but only to unbelievers who are particularly disrespectful, resistant to and hostile towards the Gospel. These are pig-headed people; existing proudly in their muck and having no concern over what is truly valuable. They will treat it with contempt and attack.
Remember the command for the disciples in Matthew 10:14 to “shake the dust off your feet”?
“And whoever does not receive you nor listen to your words, as you leave that house or city, shake the dust off your feet.”
It was the swine-like unbelievers had to leave behind. These people did not see any value in the truth nor would they pay any cost for it (Luke 14:28). They were the spiritual “swine” that mock and reject the truth of God.
We even read about Jesus Himself refusing to “cast pearls to the swine”. In Matthew 21:27 when the chief priests and elders questioned Christ’s authority it ended with Him saying, “Neither am I telling you by what authority I do these things.”
Matthew 27:12-14 says, “And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not offer any answer. Then Pilate *said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they are testifying against You?” And still He did not answer him in regard to even a single charge, so the governor was greatly amazed.
“And the disciples came up and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” And Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.” Matthew 13:10-11
Sadly for them, the conversation was over and the door was shut. There was nothing more to say. Their rejection of what was most precious brought upon His rejection of them.
This doesn’t mean we know for sure one who seems to be a swine will never become a sheep. We don’t have the ability to see as God sees. Yet, if they are being swine at the time we must dust off and move on. We must trust God to use any seeds already planted and prayerfully walk on as we leave them with His warning for their soul. We take our pearls elsewhere and trust the Lord with it all. Our hands are clean and He is glorified.
We admire the passion of the pearl caster to share Truth. The Gospel is paramount in our Christian life. It is the power of God for salvation. We are to go into the world and give the Good News. After all, how can one know Jesus without hearing about Him? As Romans 10:14 says, “How then are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? How are they to believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?”
This is true. However, God wants us to know caution must be exercised regarding the pointless and exhausting chucking of what is most valuable to those who refuse to receive it. The Kingdom is a priceless treasure, never to be treated with contempt. The value of this “pearl” is incomprehensible.
God says in Matthew 13:45, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold everything that he had and bought it.”
The wise understand and appreciate the value of it. They know it’s worth their livelihood, even their own life. Some who look like possible swine from a glance may be the very ones who appreciate the Truth the most.Clutching Your Pearls
Jesus did not keep priceless pearls from the lepers, prostitutes, swindlers, and the like. He was ridiculed for His compassion for the drudge of society. He saw them, He called them out of their filth and they responded in faith. He is the Healer of those who know they need healing. When the Good News was cast to them they received it with great joy.
Pearl “clutchers”, or perhaps one could refer to them as “Jonah-ites”, can have the tendency to cling tightly to their precious pearls as they look upon the sinfulness of this world in horror. Perhaps a particular sinner, the most repulsive and intimidating kind, has the Christian clutching and running rather than sharing and trusting. They quickly retreat in the opposite direction without allowing the Word of God to be cast at all.
The “clutchers” do well to hang on to the Word of God. They cling to it with love, especially during times of distress and difficulty. To them it is precious but at times forget it’s not just for them. Again we are to go into the world to reach the lost for Christ (John 17:18). We can’t be picking and choosing who gets to hear it according to outward appearance, biases or fears.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God does not see as man sees, since man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
We don’t want to be like Jonah, running away from the people who need to hear it and are actually willing to receive it. We don’t want to be more concerned about our earthly comfort than one’s eternal torment. Don’t be Jonah in the sense of retreating to your shelter without a care for the souls of your least favorite sinners. Jonah was more concerned about a withered shade plant for himself than the possible torment of a large group of people.
“Then the Lord said, “You had compassion on the plant, for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. Should I not also have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 people, who do not know the difference between their right hand and their left, as well as many animals?” Jonah 4:10-11
As Christ has compassion, so should we. And not only compassion but courage and confidence in the Word and work of God.
“Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.” John 6:68
The priceless pearl of the eternal kingdom of God is worth whatever cost we may need to pay here. There is a sacrifice to having the finest of pearls and perhaps great cost in our attempts to share them with the world. One thing is for sure, we have nothing without what is most precious. No one does.
“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 mere rubbish, so that I may gain Christ,” Philippians 3:8
Let us strive to not mishandle, dishonor, or hoard the Pearl of great value!
Above is an article written by Gina Cook, Gina and Tami write Through the Narrow here at Tulips & Honey Hub. They’ll be posting articles every other Tuesday. Both are published authors, you can find Tami’s book here, and Gina’s book here. We’re blessed to have them apart of our team, and pray their writing will be as edifying to you as it is to us. – Lauren Hereford