"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful 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 (NKJV)
I love Jesus Christ's parables. They provide us with a clear view of God's upside-down (by the world's standards) expectations for his people.
The pearl of great price is one of my favorites. Jesus tells us that being a part of his kingdom is of greater worth than everything else we have combined. It is a short and succinct parable of profound truth. Living with and for Christ is the most important thing by far in this life. All else is chaff in comparison to knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior. While some in scripture understood this (such as Paul), others did not (the rich young ruler).
I like to think of the church as a secondary pearl of great price. When we are part of the kingdom, we are also a part of the church. The two are not the same, but are closely related. The life we can have in fellowship with other believers is of great value.
Over the past several years I feel as if I've stumbled upon a secondary pearl of great price. While I used to think of church as institutional programs, I now see that God's plan for his church is one based in true fellowship. This pearl I've unexpectedly come upon is one that many of you have discovered as well. We didn't look for it, but God in his grace revealed it.
This pearl is one that we want to share with others. The difficulty is that many other believers are not yet ready to hear about it. My suggestion is telling them about it bit by bit as God gives the opportunity. Additionally, we can show other Christians what it is like by simply inviting them over for a meal and fellowship.
A biblical view of church life is a pearl of great price. Let's thank God that he's let us be a part of it. Let's show others grace who have never thought about it. Let's pray for opportunities to tell others about it. Let's understand that it will at times be a lonely walk. It's worth it because the pearl is of such great value.