I have always wanted to sell everything I own and buy the field. I have been the man who would give property, possessions, and pride to find the pearl of greatest price. A few years ago I did it. I sold everything I owned, packed what was left in my two-door Honda Civic and drove to Texas with no home, plan, or purpose. I found the pearl and nothing was worth more. When my best friend and I were young we made for ourselves a time-capsule. We put in it special mementos, notes from boys we liked, school pictures, concert tickets—junk to anyone else. We dug a hole in her back yard and planted it deep enough to let our friendship grow. When we dug it up in our junior or senior year it was covered in dirt, crusted with mud. Inside was safe and we have continued to treasure this tradition.
I think sometimes we are caught up in the idea that our pearl will come out polished and pristine. That we will have done the work, sold our belongings, bought the field, dug down deep, and the reward is something beautiful at first sight. But dirt isn't beautiful. And dirt-encrusted treasures are not beautiful.
The pearl we have sorted through mud and sand and tall grass and rocks for will not come out looking like it was worth any of the work at all.
There will be a time when we take the treasure home, rub it over with a soft cloth, wash it over with water, clean it up, and determine its worth. But we must not be selfish in our rush to determine the worth of what only looks like just another rock.
Today I am looking at the pile of stones before me. I asked—I asked for bread. I asked for sustenance and warm bread, and He has given me a pile of dirt-encrusted rocks. Friendships wrought with pain and surprise—not wrong, simply in process. Half-baked theological conclusions—not incorrect, simply unfinished. Relationships that never bloom—not trampled on, simply unopened. Ideas subject to time and space—not false, simply not full to fruition. To my eye this treasure has not been worth what I have given to get it.
The Lord is teaching me the process to a perfect pearl, a finely cut diamond, a shaped gold-piece, does not come without pain and it does not come without a grain of sand, a piece of rock, and a yellow vein in a dark cavern. The treasure is Christ and He wept in a garden, felt forsaken on the cross, and still has not come to take us home. We are his unfinished pearl and, in some ways, He is ours. He is already come and not yet.
Maybe none of this makes sense to you, and in some ways, I'm okay if it doesn't. This is my unfinished treasure, covered over with mud, stuffed full of meaning for me but junk to you. We are all standing behind dark and dim glasses, waiting to see face to face our dearest Treasure, and I never want to pretend my pearls are more polished than yours until that day.