Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Blogging through the Orthodox Heretic, day 6

Parable #6 turns another story of Jesus around - the story of the Pearl of Great Price. One member of the audience truly gets the story. She replies to Jesus, "All I know is that if this kingdom you speak of is like that priceless pearl, then the sacrifice needed in order to grasp it does not make one rich but rather will reduce the one who has sacrificed to absolute poverty. For you are saying that one must give up everything for the pearl, yet the pearl is itself worth nothing unless you find someone to buy it. And if you do find someone then you will no longer have the pearl." She realizes that to own the pearl means the buyer won't even have the resources to feed himself, yet if he sells the pearl, he no longer has it.
Jesus replies that one must give up everything simply because you are captivated by its beauty, not to become more rich.

How often we hear "evangelists" making promises of heaven, of a richer fuller life, of meaning... offering a trade that gives the convert more than they began with. They turn the gospel into a transaction that gives us something. This story shows that when we go into the kingdom expecting to get more, we miss the entire point.

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