It’s likely that you find yourself in a curious place, like so many, seeking pearls of wisdom to navigate through this COVID19 storm humanity finds itself in. I’m on this journey too and let’s be honest, no-one can say for certain how and when it all ends for the world. However, over the last few weeks I’ve come to remember a few precious pearls of wisdom which still remain true for most of us individually and should we be able to string together, may help us weather this storm well.
As I observe the state of the world, we face more that a health crisis caused by a disease but rather a multifaceted Dis-Ease*: families, economic, social , emotional, relational. It’s intensified the level of friction with which operate in. And God reminded me again of how a pearl is formed in nature — through constant friction. You see, as a rough grain of sand is stuck inside an oyster shell, over many years, through the long process of constant pressure and friction, the inside of the oyster shell is smoothed, even as the pearl is formed. It resonates so beautifully for me to use as a COVID19 analogy just as the pearl is formed amidst isolation alone in its oyster shell, so many of us are alone and isolated in our homes. Precious stones like diamonds are formed from pressure (not friction) but in clusters not isolation. Beautiful, strong, lasting outcomes can come from friction, pressure and isolation.
Over the years when times of trouble hit, through the long dark days with friction and pressure all round, God has birthed beautiful pearls. Our three year old having come through the difficult season of two heart surgeries and an extended ICU stay is healthy, energetic and a joy. It is one of my greatest delights these days to see the church thrive. Despite the majority of christians all over the world being unable to meet reports indicate increased participation, connection and giving.
Persevere through this time to find your pearl
Throughout God’s love letter to humanity in the Bible, just a Jesus taught us to pray in “The Lord’s Prayer”, we are directed to pursue “God’s kingdom come, on earth as in heaven.” As COVID19 has forced humanity to reconsider their identity and purpose in this time, God would have us remember His Kingdom purpose through it all. If you’ve never figured out your purpose in God’s kingdom in this time in history, it is time you did. And for those of us who may have, it is a good time to test and weigh it.
- Have you been deliberate and persevered to seek and find your pearl from God — your purpose, your identity in Christ.
- Are we measuring our purpose/pearl in this time to God’s Kingdom standard or a broken world?
- Have we been deliberate about the cost needed to unlock the pearl, something of great value for God’s kingdom purpose?
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value (also: pearl of great price), he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. (Matthew 13: 44–45, NIV)
Be aware and cautious about how you would use your pearls
Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. (Matthew 7: 6, NIV)
So many in this time are stressed out, overstretched and exhausted. It is normal to feel your capacity to cope is diminished as there are suddenly a multitude more emotions you are knowingly or unknowingly dealing with. Gaurd you time, treasure and talents, consistently testing it aligns with God’s purpose for you in this time and season:
- TIME: Are you being productive with your time? Personal devotion time with God in this time is most critical to refill empty reserves. Connecting with family and loved ones. Busy is not productive.
- TREASURE: Are you being a good steward of your finances and other physical resources (e.g. property)? The economic repercussion of COVID will be deep and long — update your budget for a worst case. Then stretch your budget, be deliberate about sacrifices and give generously with a joyful heart. It is ok to say No.
- TALENT: Are you using your talents and gifts most efficiently? Prevent increased anxiety by doing things we love doing, that we do well, with ease. It is never a good idea to impose significant change on yourselves during a crisis. Stay true to what you are good at and avoid the temptation to help people in ways which would frustrate you and them.
As you enter these days ahead, may you find a peace in the knowledge that God has planted a precious pearl inside you which through the friction of this COVID19 season He will release- for your good and for His Kingdom’s purpose in this world. This time of Dis-Ease will end — wouldn’t it be nice to have a couple of precious pearls to show for it. I believe with God’s help it is possible — till we see the pearly gates in heaven, may we trust God in the storm — and not only find our personal pearls of great price but string it together into God’s plan with other believers to create something of generational value that can never be destroyed.
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- *Reference from Rick Warren, Saddleback series, A faith that works when life doesn’t: https://saddleback.com/watch/a-faith-that-works-when-life-doesn-t
- Also see Louie Giglio, Passion City Church sermon, What now?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBtJwfvUKY8