George Bowers Sr.: Appraising pearls of great price

George Bowers Sr.

Can you imagine having $100 million and not even knowing it? Wouldn’t it be great when you found out? Last week, a fisherman in the Philippines had this enviable experience.

The story began 10 years ago when this unidentified man, along with his brothers and father, were trying to escape a storm at sea and dropped their anchor near a protective reef. When they pulled it up later, they found a giant clam clamped to it, and inside the clam they found a 75 pound pearl.

At over 2 feet long and 1 foot wide, the monster jewel will be the largest ever discovered once it is verified, and its worth is expected to top one hundred million smackaroos. Imagine how long this oddity had been growing and imagine trying to wear it on an earring or necklace.

Ironically, the fisherman kept this item of unknown worth in a bag under his bed for the last decade. He and his relatives would rub it before each fishing trip hoping it would bring them luck. Little did he know it already had.

In Matthew 13, Jesus told about a jeweler who went looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he sold all that he had to acquire the rare gem. I have wondered why anyone would sell such a treasure, but this story reveals that we frequently fail to realize the true value of what we have. The poor Filipino fisherman had no idea that the colossal pearl under his mattress was worth far more than many millions of fish he was hoping it would help him catch. It’s enough to make me take another look under my own bed.

How often we undervalue what we already possess. Instead of cherishing our priceless friends and family members, we long to win the lottery or get a surprise visit from Ed McMahon. We labor long hard hours to pile up stuff that can be destroyed in an instant, as we’ve seen recently in Louisiana and California. Somehow, we believe money and things will bring us greater joy than love and relationships.

We also fail to properly appraise the surpassing value of God’s great love. Because many of us grew up in Christian homes or around other believers, we take God’s amazing grace and mercy for granted. We don’t cherish him as we should and we even hide him beneath many other aspects of our busy lives as we search for something to satisfy us. We treat him like a good luck charm asking him to give us more money, more stuff, and more happiness, failing to realize that he already holds more of what we really need than all these put together.

Thankfully, we don’t have to sell him in order to enjoy his benefits. We only need to bring him out, place him smack dab in the center of our lives, and cultivate a deep relationship with him. As we do, we begin to realize he has all we could ever possibly want. Ironically, it’s the storms in our lives that typically force us to do this. What we see at the time as misfortune, like the ocean squall, often turns out to be the very event that brings us untold blessings by motivating us to develop a closer bond with Jesus.

Ultimately, he has promised a home with even bigger pearls to all who trust in him. These pearls are so big they serve as gates to a glorious city. As I consider the size and weight of the clam that produced a 2-foot pearl, I can’t help but wonder how big the ones are that will generate gate-size ones. Although I may never get to see the giant pearl in the Philippines, I do look forward to taking selfies beside the ones in Heaven.

If you’ve never discovered the joy of Jesus, put him in the center of your life today that you might enjoy the blessings only he can give, both now and later.

Blessings, George

George Bowers Sr. is the senior pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of seven books, including his devotional collection, “Blessings.” He can be reached through www.georgebowersministries.com or at gabowers@shentel.net.