Becoming the Pearl of Great Price

Renee Ann Smith —  November 9, 2015 — 17 Comments

The Scarlet LetterEvery year when we read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic The Scarlet Letter, the girls in my American Literature class fall for this dramatic tale of a woman who goes wrong yet learns from her sin and becomes a stronger, better person. My students’ hearts break for Hester Prynne as she navigates the world alone, rejected by the men who claim to love her and the religious folks around her.

When she rises above her personal pain to reach out to those in need, they cheer her on.

As we discuss the difference between consequences of sin and God’s grace and forgiveness, they begin to see parts of their own story in Hester’s journey.

They love that after Hester gave birth to her daughter out of wedlock, she “named the infant Pearl, as being of great price—purchased with all she had—her mother’s only treasure” (Hawthorne 76).

And that’s when I share what I’ve learned about Becoming the Pearl of Great Price.

The pearl is an interesting study. Unlike other gems, pearls are produced by a living organism, an oyster, as the result of a wound.

The pearl usually begins forming around a grain of sand or an egg of some parasite that invaded the oyster—or it could even be a small piece of the oyster’s own shell—a self-inflicted wound.

The oyster protects itself by layering the irritant with nacre or mother-of-pearl

Until out of pain and suffering it forms an object of great beauty.  

What started off as something unwanted, unattractive, and worthless actually becomes a gem of great worth!

So it is with us.

From birth, we’re marred by sin, unable to become what our Heavenly Father envisioned when He planted us in the womb.

If left to ourselves, we wander through the days that stretch out before us, constantly seeking beautiful coverings to hide the ugliness we see in our own hearts.

Little pieces of jealousy, bitterness, unkindness, fear fester into wounds that smother our peace and pierce our happiness.

But because He loves us, God purchases us,

Clothes us with His righteousness,

And transforms us into a thing of beauty.

He talks about it in Matthew 13:45 . . .

“God’s kingdom is like a jewel merchant on the hunt for excellent pearls. Finding one that is flawless, he immediately sells everything and buys it.”

Many see this as a parable of a person seeking the kingdom of heaven.

But some see another level of meaning where Christ is the jewel merchant, and we are the pearl.

This resonates with me because I know it from firsthand experience.  

God, our big-hearted Heavenly Father, has a special talent for seeing the treasure inside the people and things that everyone else overlooks.

Pearl of Great Price

These verses testify to how great a value Christ places on you and me . . .

“They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels.” Malachi 3:17

“The Lord their God will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be!” Zechariah 9:16&17a

And here’s the same truth from The Message . . .
“Their God will save the day. He’ll rescue them. They’ll become like sheep, gentle and soft, or like gemstones in a crown, catching all the colors of the sun. Then how they’ll shine! Shimmer! Glow!”

Pearl of Great Price

May you sparkle as His treasured daughter today. Blessings, friends!

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Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

17 responses to Becoming the Pearl of Great Price

  1. I love this comparison, working you way from your high school lit class/Scarlet Letter to how your class sees the story…to the oyster/pearl … and finally to us. It is wonderful and so right on.
    I am so grateful that you are my neighbor at Small Wonder. I have blessed, Renee Ann.

  2. I love the story of the pearl and the way you described it! It’s such a beautiful way to describe what God does for us! I love that verse from Zechariah and pinned it, as well! I’m so glad we were neighbors at #SharingHisBeauty. I’m following you on Insta and Twitter! So glad to make the connection 🙂
    Blessings and smiles,

  3. Happy to find you here from #raralinkup. Isn’t it amazing to think of how greatly God values us? It’s beyond our comprehension. I love that God tells us we are the apple of His eye. So highly valued and deeply loved. Good words today!

  4. A pearl of great price – it is phrases like that which made Hawthorne a classic writer – and I love how you pull that out. Our suffering and hurts can be made pricelessly beautiful by God – so very beautiful!

  5. Beautiful. I love pearls so I was attracted to your post this morning. Reminds me of smooth stones in a brook, with the water consonantly rushing past it it makes it smoother. We can know that all the events in our lives are God’s way of making us beautiful.

  6. This is a beautiful analogy, Renee. I love how you are getting so much good out of.The Scarlet Letter for your students. I do want to shine and shimmer today. 🙂

  7. And the gates of Heaven are each made of a single pearl. Oh, the price…

  8. Such a beautiful post. May I share this with my homeschool email group? I will be sure to acknowledge the author.

  9. As always I love your posts and graphics. Thanks for sharing the thoughts on this one; I loved them.

  10. Thanks for visiting & commenting, friends! I so enjoy following you all & linking up!

  11. I read recently that fiction is one of the best ways to nurture compassion for it allows the reader to embrace and take on the feelings and circumstances of others through a fictional character. The outcome is a transfer of that empathy to real people in our world. This book and your beautifully crafted lesson certainly is an example of teaching empathy {as well as God’s promises}, a trait that research suggests is sadly lacking in young adults.

  12. Just pinned your graphic ! Great post! Your students are blessed to have you! sue

  13. This is absolutely lovely. What a blessing you must be for your students.

  14. Reminded me how great our God is. 🙂
    Thanks and happy weekend!

  15. Renee, I always love your posts, but this one is stunning. I will be sharing this far and wide. Wow! Thanks so much for linking this up at Booknificent Thursday this week!

  16. What a lovely story and comparison. Thanks for sharing this with us at Grace & Truth!

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