David Jennings - Precious Things

I have been thinking of three precious things: Gold, Diamonds, and Pearls. Gold is found only in the heart because it is a treasure that is made only in the heart and can't be found anywhere else. If the gold isn't in our heart, then we don't have it. This gold is formed and increases when we make choices that are favorable to the will of God. When choices are made in the favor of God's will, we will have treasure in the heart.

There is a connection between chance and choice. "Time and chance happeneth to them all." Ecclesiastes 9:11. Every man has time and chance, but it is not time and chance that produce gold. They bring us to the place of choice. Time and chance will bring us to the grave. People who aren't taken by chance are eventually taken by time. No one has ever won the battle against time. Don't fight old age. But God has planned that time and chance would bring us to the place of choice. If time and chance aren't followed by a godly choice, then time and chance will take us to a lost eternity.
 

Gold is often associated with the fiery trial. No one ever made a choice that is favorable to the will of God without realizing that this is a fire that burns deeply. Gold never has to be polished or shined, but it does need to be separated. The fiery trials provide the means whereby the gold is cleansed -- through the avenue of separation.


Sometimes we question ourselves as to whether or not we have any of this gold. It is good to remember that the amount of gold that we have is according to the number of choices we have made in the favor of God. If we neglect to choose wisely, we not only miss the chance of having gold in our hearts, but we pave the way to a wasted life and eventually to a lost eternity. 

 
Diamonds are produced by pressure instead of fire. Pressure comes when we stand true to God. The diamond is hard and unyielding, but it is beautiful. If the part of us that faces the world and opposition is loyal, then we will have a diamond in our face. "I have set my face like a flint," Isaiah 50:7. There must be gold in the heart before there can be a diamond in the face. Standing for Truth at the cost of our own personal humiliation and loss produces a diamond. When they looked at Stephen, it says that they "saw his face as it had been the face of an angel." Acts 6:15. When they looked on Stephen's face it reminded them of heaven - brilliance of Jesus Himself-because of Stephen's loyalty.


Loyalty only exists when adverse circumstances are present. Without those circumstances, the question of loyalty doesn't even appear. You can't be loyal to your friends till they fail, to your nation till it loses a battle, to your companions till they make a mistake. David's first response when he heard about the death of Saul and Jonathan was that he didn't want the enemy to know -- a loyal heart. Loyalty only exists in the face of adversity.


When Stephen faced adverse circumstances, he was willing to be true. His first inclination would have been to run away. But they would have caught him and stoned him anyway. Then they could have said that they 'took' his life, but Stephen didn't run so he 'gave' his life. Jesus knew that he had power to come down from the cross, but God planned that He would hang on the cross so that no one would be able to say that they 'took' His life. Jesus 'gave' His life. I saw a monument in a certain town to those who 'gave their lives for their country.' But very few people give their life for their country; it is 'taken' from them. They fight tooth and nail to keep it, but go down in failure and the enemy 'takes' their life. So few 'give' their lives. What is 'taken' from us is DEFEAT, but what we 'give' up for Jesus' sake is VICTORY.


The light of the diamond flashes forth when pressure is on. A leader has nothing to offer his followers unless his cause is greater to him than his followers. We have a cause that is greater than ourselves and greater than others. We have something to be loyal to that is worthwhile. People only see the diamond as the person is loyal and gives himself when there is opportunity to do differently.


Gold is found in the heart; diamonds are found in the face; pearls are found in the joints. "From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth according to the effectual working in the measure of every part maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love," Ephesians 4:16. This body is strengthened and grows, not by what every 'member' supplies, but by what every joint supplies. A joint is where two members come together. Grit in a joint is NOT a pearl, but it makes it possible to make a pearl. A 'pearl' is formed when both grit and grace are present. We can't possess a pearl if there isn't grit in the joint. We often pray for the grit to be removed when we should pray instead for grace. The human cries out for the grit to be removed, but we should remember that it is the makings of a pearl.


Sometimes life finds us with the grit that cannot be removed. It is sad when we then go through life only feeling a painful joint and never experiencing that grit being turned into a pearl. The grace of God doesn't change our lot in life, but it changes the grit into a pearl of great price.


The grace of God only comes forth and is present when adversity is present. If there isn't a pearl uniting us (just an agreement or common likeness) then one could say that we are together just because there is no grit. Everyone wants grace, but no one likes grit -- and no one likes the place where grace is found -- the place of humility. "God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble," 1 Peter 5:5. In humility, much can be born that would be otherwise impossible. 
 

We should be careful that we are never the source of the grit. "It must needs be that offences come, but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" Matthew 18:7. We don't want to question the how, when, where and what of grit, BUT remember that our source of help is through God's grace. The 'pearl of great price' is not so much a picture of salvation itself, but of the work of God that gives assurance of salvation.


It is wonderful to be able to look back on some choices that showed something in our hearts that caused us to make them in the favor of God's will - not time and chance. And it is wonderful to be conscious of something burning within us that calls for loyalty in the face of adversity. And there is something that gives us a thankful feeling when God gives grace in difficult experiences. These experiences will make us rich toward God and then we will be a blessing in the Kingdom and a joy to God.