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366 devotional readings that will unlock the secret power to Abiding In Christ

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Reimar A.C. Schultze

Past Issues of the Call To Obedience

"Turn Your Hurt Into A Pearl "

By Pastor Reimar Schultze

“Again, 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” (Matthew 13:45–46).

Before I draw your attention to this parable, consider some of the other things that Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven unto:

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that sowed...

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed...

The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven...

The kingdom of heaven is like unto ten virgins...

The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure...

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net...

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant seeking goodly pearls...

Here you have kingdom lessons from such diversity that one would think that perhaps Jesus could see some truth about his kingdom in everything he had created.  And so, indeed, it is that, since all things were made by him and for his glory, all creation reflects a measure or facet of his glorious kingdom.  Everything the Triune God created speaks of him and of his kingdom—everything!  Isn’t that marvelous?  But it takes the Holy Spirit to reveal these things unto us.  That is to say, the Holy Spirit has to reveal the hidden secrets and mysteries of His handiwork.

The Bible says Jesus went everywhere preaching the gospel of the kingdom.  Think of it.  Where is everywhere not?  Sometimes people tried to hold him in their villages, but Jesus said, “I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also” (Luke 4:43).  Jesus had a sense of an unusual, divine urgency to preach the gospel of the kingdom everywhere in Israel .  And, oh, the books of the world could not contain all he said about this kingdom.

Of everything he ever created, the kingdom of heaven is Jesus’ last, crowning creation.  It is, for lack of better words, his touch of excellence, his masterpiece, his ultimate work for man’s ultimate purpose.  He placed it at the forefront of the Lord’s Prayer in the petition, “Thy kingdom come,” to make it man’s constant pursuit and most priceless possession.

And yet, although Jesus preached the message of the kingdom everywhere, hardly anyone in Christianity does so today.  And so the kingdom of heaven continues to be a lost kingdom.  Jesus never preached the message of the rebirth.  The message of the rebirth, although important and essential, is never mentioned in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.  In John, it is only mentioned in Jesus’ conversation with one man.  But Jesus never preached it.  He commissioned his disciples to preach the gospel of the kingdom of heaven (Luke 9:2).

Much of the church acts as if the rebirth is mentioned on every page of every one of the four gospels.  She acts as if Jesus gave command for the rebirth to be preached everywhere.  But, no, it is the kingdom of heaven that is the primary carrier of all gospel truth.  It is the kingdom of heaven that is the gospel.

Jesus said to Nicodemus that except a man is born again, he can neither see nor enter the kingdom of heaven (John 3:3, 5).  So, we get people to be born again.  But how can they, after they have been born again, see and enter the kingdom of heaven if it is not lived, preached, described, demonstrated, and made visible to the soul?  How can you enter something that is neither demonstrated nor known?  How can a child, once it is born, see or enter New York City if it is never taken there?  How can such a child ever hear Beethoven if his sounds are never presented to him?  To preach the rebirth over and over again without preaching the kingdom is like trying to sell doors without houses.  We are not called to sell doors to people, but to get them into houses—houses of God’s presence, love, and purity.

UNLESS THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS PREACHED AND LIVED EVERYWHERE, THE NEWBORN IN CHRIST HAVE NO KINGDOM TO SEE OR TO ENTER INTO.  This is why most all new converts die of starvation without ever having known or experienced the kingdom of heaven.  They never enter in.

When Dr. E. Stanley Jones said, “The church has lost the kingdom,” he put his finger on the greatest problem facing Christendom; for how can the church be the church without the kingdom?  The gospels employ the word “church” only three times, but yet the terms, “kingdom of heaven” and “ kingdom of God ,” are employed about one hundred times.  Without the kingdom of heaven, the church is totally void of spirituality, for it is only in the kingdom that there is righteousness, peace and joy (Rom. 14:17).

Unless we recapture the gospel of the kingdom, we have dead-end conversions—conversions without any life-sustaining purpose and hope.

When Jesus came, he brought the kingdom of heaven, a kingdom hitherto unknown to the Jews, a kingdom that was to be the dwelling place for every man born of God.  And Jesus taught us through the parables he had recorded that everything he created has a truth in it which demonstrates another glorious facet of this marvelous kingdom.

Now consider the parable of the pearl.

Robert Morgan brought to my attention the fact that the source of the pearl is at the heart of this parable.  All pearls come out of oysters.  The only way you can get a pearl, other than a fake one, is by a grain of sand getting into some part of the organism of an oyster.  When that little granule of sand gets into the oyster, it irritates the oyster.  Immediately, a substance called nacre is emitted by the oyster and surrounds the grain of sand.  Nacre is composed of aragonite crystals.  It is these crystals that make up this beautiful pearl—formed out of a hurt.  Of course, once the pearl is made, the hurt ceases.  Glory to God!

In the jewelry trade, some of these pearls are called pears, bells, or drops, according to their shape.  They come in a variety of colors; the most prized being shades of white, black, rose and cream.  Fisherman catch the oysters, kill them, and examine them to see if they have any pearls within them.  Remember, if there was any hurt in the oyster, there is a pearl.

Now, “the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls.”  What the merchant is really looking for is something that has been hurt and has been turned into a pearl rather than into a root of bitterness.  Everyone truly born of God is seeking goodly pearls, the beautiful adornment of Christ in every believer.  Unless we have come to spiritual lukewarmness or coldness of heart following our conversion, we are all pearl seekers.  We all look for the adornment of Jesus, for his spiritual virtues, in everyone professing Christianity.  Our souls yearn to see men and women who walk with God as the prophets and apostles of old.

Now, the Pearl of Great Price is Jesus.

Jesus was hurt.  He was persecuted.  He was mocked.  He was ridiculed.  He was called the son of the devil, a glutton, a drunkard, an impostor, and a deceiver.  He was spat upon, beaten, and nailed to the cross.  JESUS WAS HURT!  He was hurt, but not offended.  God’s people don’t get offended (Ps. 119:165).  But God’s people do get hurt at iniquity.  And on the cross, Jesus summed up His attitude toward all the hurt he had received by saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”  Jesus turned his hurts into a pearl.  Layer after layer of spiritual nacre had formed over his wounded soul until it shown in the most glorious brilliance ever seen on any adornment in all of time.  Christ became the Pearl of Great Price through hurt.  “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Pet. 2:23).  Hallelujah!

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, for heaven or earth to behold that is more splendid than the suffering Christ hanging on the tree having turned into a pearl.

Well, my friend, what are you doing with your hurts?  What are you doing with the hurts, irritations, or unkind comments; the harsh cutting remarks of your husband or wife?  What are you doing with the hurts that you, as a layperson, have received from other Christians or from the pastor himself?  What are you doing, Pastor, with the hurts you received from persons not being faithful, or from the congregations that have made you move over and over again every two to four years?

What are we doing with the hurts?  Are we letting them fester within us?  Are we letting them become roots of bitterness?  Are we letting them drive us out of the fellowship of God’s people?  Are we letting them lead us into the prison-house of resentment, criticism, or self-pity?  Or, are we turning our hurts into aragonite crystals as Jesus did; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, not seeking divorce, not going the route of eye-for-eye or tooth-for-tooth, but rather taking the route of forgiveness, love to our enemies, servanthood, long-suffering, and patient enduring?

 “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one goodly pearl sold all [everything] that he had and bought it.”

You either let the hurt continue to irritate you and all others you have contact with until it finally destroys you, or you turn the hurt into a pearl, inspiring others to sell all, forsake all, and become a pearl, also!

There is no way anyone can make it through this life without being hurt.  Yes, we all have been hurt.  Sometimes, it is the fault of others.  Many times, it is our own fault because of our over-sensitivity.  Sometimes, we are hurt because we are misinformed.  Sometimes, we are hurt because we have unreasonable expectations or misunderstandings.  And the list goes on and on.

Yes, you have been hurt.  Perhaps you have been hurt by your spouse; but remember, most likely, you also have hurt your spouse.  Perhaps you have been hurt by your pastor; but remember, you also have hurt your pastor.  Listen, hurt is as much a part of the emotional and spiritual life as breathing is to the physical life.  Again, I am not talking about being offended.  I am talking about being hurt.

So, hurt is essential for pearl making.  Don’t cry about your hurt.  Don’t blame others for your hurt.  Just become a pearl maker.  Thank God for the hurts.  There is absolutely no other way to make pearls, but by hurt.  You must become hurt to make a pearl.  Don’t resent it, but rather, welcome the hurt.  Pearls are what we need in the church, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.  Hurts are a source of great adornment if we follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people would, when hurt, become beautiful pearls for Jesus rather than leave the church in irritation, hurting others the rest of their lives.  Oh, what a beautiful and glorious church Jesus would have if all the hurt of its members would have been turned into pearls.

And now YOU know the secret of every beautiful saint.  They have not come there the easy way.  They all have come to their beautiful adornment of godliness by turning all their hurts into pearls.  Indeed, may you, too, become willing to give up everything to become a pearl of great price.

Finally, that hurt, that grain of sand that caused the pearl, will be forever embedded in that beautiful pearl, because it is both a symbol and a remembrance of the grace of God and the power of his kingdom.  It is the wounds of Jesus on his body that illustrate what the grain embedded in the pearl of an oyster is all about.  It is these wounds of Jesus that will remain on his body forever—visible, yet, no longer hurting—that will teach us unceasingly of the glory of the cross and the secrets of the kingdom of heaven.