Man has been fascinated by pearls for centuries, with good reason.
|Ama Pearl Divers|
True natural pearls are extraordinarily rare. Gathering them is dangerous, difficult work. But lots of things are rare, and most precious substances are hard to extract from the earth’s resources – diamonds, oil, even pure water – can be hard to come by. What makes pearls so special?
Pearls aren’t just the result of a chemical reaction under the earth’s surface, or a physical change due to heat and pressure. Pearls are produced by living creatures, oysters, and as with most of creation, those oysters have a lesson to teach us…
Imagine you are an oyster, living a simple, peaceful existence on the sea floor with the rest of your oyster pals. One day, you discover an intruder has invaded your walls of defense and taken up residence in your sensitive innards.
You glance around to see if anyone else in Oyster Valley is afflicted by a similar ailment. It’s hard to tell when you can’t see inside anyone.
This intruder (usually a microscopic parasite of some kind) is now irritating and aggravating you, rubbing you raw from the inside out. You have no arms to dig it out, no way to expel it. Desperate for relief, your mollusk body spits out some of the same chemicals you use to build and maintain your shell (called nacre). The nacre surrounds the intruder and hardens, encapsulating it.
Ah, that’s a little better.
But, you’re still aware of the invader, still a little sore. So you repeat the process. You keep bathing that irritant until it no longer aggravates you. Eventually, the nacre, which hardens around the invader in concentric circles, forms a silky smooth sphere (in the case of perfect natural pearls).
What’s our lesson?
Who, or what, has invaded your domain and irritated you today? What’s gotten under your skin? It might be a co-worker, or a family member, or some inanimate object. Will you continue to be irritated? Or will you choose to cover the irritant.
Yeah, I’d like to cover that irritant. With a pillow over his/her face!
No, no, no. That doesn’t produce pearls. That produces jail time.
If the spirit of Christ lives in you, you have the ideal pearl-making substances in abundance – the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience (or long-suffering), goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
The Bible says love covers a multitude of sins (shortcomings, failures, missing the mark). Patience, or long-suffering, is not the ability to be a doormat, it’s the ability to continue bathing that irritant in love and joy and peace again and again until a perfect pearl is formed. The fruit of the spirit gives you the ability to take something potentially ugly and transform it into something of beauty and value.
We need to make a conscious choice to cover those things, people, and behaviors that irritate and annoy with love and grace, because this irritating world is desperately in need of more “pearly people.”
Will you be a pearl-producer, or just a common, fleshy oyster with grit in your soft spots?