Planks, Pearls & Pigs. . .

planks-pearls-pigsI’ve always loved pearls, because I’m a June baby.  As birthstones go, they are unusual in that they aren’t stones.  But their beauty and value are so captivating that they’re still considered precious stones.

When I was in grade school, my Spanish teacher gave me the name Perla because of my very light blonde hair.  I don’t think she realized that pearl was also my birthstone.

So, in considering pearls recently,  I pondered the meaning and looked up pearls in the Word.  It always amazed me to think that the heavenly gates are each made from a single pearl.  I’d love to see that.  In fact, I actually plan on it!

Revelation 21:21. “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl.  And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”

If you can envision these amazing pearls, then you will have a tiny inkling of just how vast and abundant the heavenly realms are.  God is the King of Kings, so He has riches and splendor available for His children that we can barely imagine.

I love the parable of the man who found a pearl of great price and sold everything to acquire it.  Matthew 13:45-46 says,  “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

This reminds us of how priceless the kingdom of God is to us.  It’s really worth everything we could possibly give.  I’m thankful that Jesus paid that high price for us, though, because I know I wouldn’t be able to come up with anything sufficient to secure it for myself.

Another reference hints at the fact that pearls are metaphoric symbols of something of greater value.

Matthew 7:6. “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

After reading that, I had to ask myself, what are my pearls?  Yes, I have some physical ones, and I do know the verse refers to a spiritual “pearl.”  I believe what God is referring to is what are commonly known as “pearls of wisdom.”  In fact, the saying literally comes from the scriptural concept in that verse.

Job 28:18 also gives us a clue.   “Coral and crystal are not to be mentioned; And the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls.”

Today, we live in a world full of people who operate out of human wisdom or even without any wisdom.  Many people just allow talking heads in the media or worse, their own thoughts and whims, to dictate what they believe.

That is a very dangerous situation and one which has resulted in great division in our nation.  In my experience, a vast majority function without any wisdom, much less godly wisdom.

So what does that have to do with planks and pigs, you might ask?  I believe we need to recognize the condition of those around us and determine to respond to others with godly wisdom instead of human thought processes and opinions.

With this in mind, we need to take a look at the context of what is my anchor scripture reference today.

Matthew 7:3-4.  “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?”

Matthew 7:5. “Hypocrite!  First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

I believe what happens most of the time is that we read the three verses and forget the last, most important part.  The word “then” is there because it’s only after we have completed the first two instructions that we are in any position to help someone else.

These verses are in the context of judging others.  Okay, I know, that’s a really hot button!  But we need to see what God says about it in order to understand what He is getting at here.

If you look back up to the beginning of this chapter, the verse immediately before these verses says, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and, by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

Now, I don’t want to get into a long drawn out teaching about judgment today because I don’t want to lose sight of what God may be getting at.  What I believe we need to understand is that having something in our own life that causes us to be blinded to our own sin must be taken care of before we can help anyone else.  We have to have soft hearts and a willingness to be humble in order to serve others around us.

No one wants to be around someone who is self righteous and condemning.  People won’t be helped by that kind of attitude.  In order to be effective, we have to recognize that God has given us wonderful pearls of wisdom for others.

That’s His gift for the body of Christ.  But, if we are not looking at that big broad ugly plank that is sticking out of our own eye, we won’t be able to truly see clearly enough to judiciously point out what others may need to do in order to grow and change.

Since the whole purpose of the body of Christ coming together is to help build each other up, it won’t do any good if we refuse to examine ourselves first so we can then humbly point out truth to our fellow body parts.

It doesn’t mean that we are not supposed to judge rightly!  In fact, the verses indicate that we are expected to help point out things in our brother’s lives that they may not see.  It just means we have to look at our own attitudes and mindsets, first, to be sure we are free from sin as we reach out to someone else.

Secondly, if we just go around throwing out our pearls of wisdom where no one has asked for them, we can end up in the pig pen at risk of being trampled.  That is certainly not what God has in mind.

If we are to serve the Lord effectively within a group of believers, it would be wise to recognize the three strange symbols of planks, pearls and pigs, and how they apply to our ministry to one another.

Right here and now, I’d like to ask anyone for forgiveness if I have offered my advice or my observations without considering the fact that maybe you didn’t really want it.  That was never my intention.  I’m also fully aware that my blog offers advise and wisdom, but hopefully you chose to read it and weren’t forced to hear something you didn’t request.

Also, if I have ever pointed out a speck in your eye and had a plank sticking out of my own, please forgive me.  I was blind.  Hopefully there aren’t any more planks in there.  Now, that all said, it brings me to the point I want to get to.

Sometimes God gives us wonderful insight and wisdom for someone else in their predicaments.  If we have a prophetic nature, or like me, a teacher anointing, we tend to want to give our pearls out abundantly.  The caution here is that sometimes we are surrounded by pigs.  Sorry, no offense intended.

What I mean by that, is that some people are actually happy in their mud and mire.  Pointing out the obvious or trying to help them get out can be risky.  That doesn’t mean we can’t offer suggestions if God is calling us to do it.  It just means we need to exercise great humility and wisdom in the process.

Sometimes your pearls of wisdom are too valuable to offer to someone who has no desire to receive them.  Having a beautiful pearl trampled in the mud doesn’t seem like a good use of it’s beauty and value.  In other words, giving that wisdom to someone who isn’t ready to receive may actually waste what God gave you and do more harm than good.

Instead, I recommend heading to the prayer closet rather than the pig pen.  That way you can pray about the situation and the person without putting yourself at risk of being trampled or without giving such a treasure away to the mud.  If you’ve ever given advise or correction to someone who didn’t want or ask for it first, then you probably got trampled.

When we carefully examine ourselves before helping others and don’t just throw out the knowledge and wisdom God has blessed us with, then we come into a place of having spiritual authority.  If you know that you have this authority in a person’s life, you might be free to share your pearls with them.

If you have not established that with someone, then I challenge you to see if there’s a big long plank hanging around somewhere…  Spiritual authority must be earned.  So, don’t assume you have it, if you’ve never established relationship with someone.

My prayer for you all today is that you would examine yourself in humility, reach out to help others only after you’ve done that, and prayerfully consider whose life you speak into.

God wants the value He gives us to be treasured.  He wants our encouragement and our exhortation to be based on the other person’s need and not born out of our own.  Perhaps, if you are ministering out of your own need, it might be time for a “plank-ectomy”

When Jesus told us to go make disciples, He meant that we had to do it through relationship.  If you’re surrounded by pigs (sorry…) then maybe you need to see if you can befriend some of them before you try to help.

Having this humble spiritual authority, if you are able to receive this understanding, insures you won’t land you in a pig sty with a plank in your eye throwing all your pearls into the mud.

Trailing Ellipsis marks

Matthew 7:1-6

Do not judge so that you will not be judged. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.  “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?  “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.  “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Always in Jesus,
Desireé Figg

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6 thoughts on “Planks, Pearls & Pigs. . .

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