I’ve been thinking a lot about the story of the ‘pearl of great price.’ You may know the short parable already, but just in case here it is:
“Also, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant who was searching for fine pearls. When he found a valuable pearl, he went away, sold everything he had, and bought it.” (Matthew 13.45-46)
I tried to capture this short story in a painting:
The adventure and looking that the merchant had is, I believe, what Jesus desires for his friends today.
I feel challenged to my core to have a readiness to find people whom I can share the good news of the kingdom with. To look and notice people. But there’s a problem.
So much crowds out the adventure. Worry that people won’t want to hear the gospel. Concern that I would upset people. Distractions by my busyness and pace of getting to places and preoccupation of what needs to be done.
I so much believe in the goodness of the message but often believe the lie that the ‘good’ of the ‘news’ is just good for me and not for others.
Last week I joined a small team from Stanmore Baptist Church to go out and creatively bring the gospel to people. It was a day of lifting up my eyes and seeing people as precious and loved by God.
First off we went to a cafe and did some prophetic art and creative prayers. Meanwhile a couple of teams were out and about on the streets engaging with people with free gifts and conversations! There were definitely a few ‘blow my mind’ kind of conversations with people. These are often referred to as ‘Divine appointments.’
One local church leader ended up listening to a story from a woman who needed to talk about regrets. “I’ve never told anyone this before…” she said.
While doing creative things in cafes and on the streets is a way of turning up the mojo for looking and searching, Treasure Hunting ramps up the seeking mojo level to 11!
We did this as another activity around Stanmore to engage with people.
Treasure Hunting is simply asking God for clues about the person or people he wants you to meet. It may be the location you feel led to or even the appearance of the person that helps me (and all those who did treasure hunting with me) to look and actively search for people.
The activity is a sure way to ‘lift up your eyes and see’ and my experience is that while I don’t always find my treasure I’m always seeking and searching, like the merchant looking for that pearl of great price.
Here’s a blessing for you (and me) to look and search:
May my eyes see what You see in the people around me.
May my ears hear what You want to say to those around me.
May my heart be willing and care. Would You break it with the things that break Your heart?
May my feet run to the bruised, battered and broken people around me, and really see them and then love them, and treasure them like that pearl of Great Price. Amen.