“The Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” The pearl of great price sounds like the ultimate “impulse item!” If you want it you need to drop everything and sell everything to get it. You need to do it right now.
As I reflect on these words from our reading today I am impressed with both the urgency and “all or nothing” description surrounding the Kingdom of heaven. I really don’t know many people who respond this way to the Kingdom of God. I certainly don’t.
I tend to cling to all the distractions of middle-class existence. I also tend to drift away from the present moment where the Kingdom of God is located (I think) and think about the past and/or the future. Nor do I “sell everything.” I guess I am like most of us who hear these words and wonder. Even those who renounce possessions sometimes end up living a fairly cozy and well provided for life, with no apparent connection to God’s Kingdom.
I don’t have an easy answer to the obvious questions flowing from the gospel description of the Kingdom of heaven. And maybe that’s what I do today as I reflect on this passage from Scripture. I don’t obsess over the question “Am I going to separate myself from all my little treasures to immediately and always focus on the Kingdom of God?” Maybe today I just sit with this description of the Kingdom, wondering and marveling at its urgency and cost.
Terry McDevitt, Ph.D. is a member of the Passionist Family in Louisville, Kentucky.