Precious pearls and pigs.
As a life coach, I get the opportunity to meet and engage with a variety of people as does my husband, the counselor. People from all walks of life.
Each one has a personal story compiled of relationships, experiences, and opportunities or lack thereof. No two are alike. Not in life’s details, nor their outlook, responses, reactions or opinions.
We do a lot of listening while sitting on some precious pearls. We do not have the luxury of judging a book by its cover because surprise is an element that pops up from time to time. Nor can we allow ourselves to run low on patience to the point of spurting. We’re called – especially because of the Lord whom we represent – to remain professional at least and warm and inviting at most.
There’s something else that we’re to remain as well, and that is wise and discerning.
The Bible instructs all to ask the Lord for wisdom as He is willing to give it liberally whenever needed.1 Wisdom then coupled with discernment is a powerful duo that when rightly used can prevent a lot of trouble, angst, frustration and sometimes outright attack. Jesus knew this and we learn by His example.
He cut right to the chase when He taught the following in His sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7) –
Don’t give precious things to dogs.
Don’t cast your pearls before swine.
If you do, the pigs will trample the pearls
with their little pigs’ feet,
and then they will turn back and attack you.
Jesus in Matthew 7:6 (The Voice)
You don’t have to be a counselor or a life coach to have such encounters. Any of us in families, the marketplace, education, business or places of ministry holding out sacred, life-giving truths of the Gospel will at some point be faced with the equivalent of Jesus’ pigs and His precious pearls.
There is a reason why Jesus was a pretty forthright kind of guy in His humanity. He had to put up with us in the same way we have to put up with us. He most certainly was the epitome of Love as He became flesh and lived among us as one of His own. He did not lead a sheltered life but a sinless one, identifying with the human race in order to provide our full redemption. By the time He delivered the Sermon on the Mount, He was what some call in today’s vernacular a rock star, with a multitude of groupies to prove it. When He tried to escape for a bit of quiet, food and sleep – there they were again. Some of them had no intention of being nice little piggies.
Blessedly, Jesus left us with His own words and actions by which to help us discern when to hold on to the precious pearls we possess. Which by the way, are most valuable because of the price we paid to make them our own.
Jesus was practical at times. He knew 1) His purpose 2) His mission and 3) was about his Father’s business. As a result He:
- recognized those who had little interest in His purpose and mission and determined He would refuse to allow His efforts to be wasted.
- recognized some wanted Him to perform for them or satisfy their bellies and their curiosity. He refused.
- told us in Luke 16:8 that it really is not that difficult to discern when to offer the precious pearls of God and when not to. He stated that the unrighteous are shrewder at relating to their own kind than are the people of the light in respect to their generation. He was saying get a clue.
- reiterated it again in Matthew 10 when He instructed His disciples that if anyone did not welcome them or listen to their words, they were to shake the dust off their feet and leave that home or town. The upshot was to notice when something is apparent. If unwelcome, move on. Hang on to your precious pearls and go elsewhere. Others need what you have and are ready to hear it.
- modeled for us that sometimes the right thing to do is to determine ‘No. No attack today’. 2
When we find ourselves dealing with people and situations that seem as though our precious pearls are being refused and trampled upon, I encourage us to consider again what our part truly is:
We are responsible to share the good news. But we are not responsible for others’ responses to it.
Pigs do not appreciate pearls, just as some people do not appreciate all that Christ has done for them. Preaching the value of pearls to those who do not, will not, and refuse to hear you is the essence of casting your pearls before swine.
Jesus understands. He daily chose to incline His heart and ear to listen for His Father’s wisdom. I think He needed to as well, for it was the one true place of reprieve where He was filled to be emptied again. How well He modeled the pattern to which He invites us as we desire to look more like Him and act less like pigs ourselves.
Precious pearls become you. Just don’t allow them to become trampled by little pig’s feet. Jesus didn’t, and He has already given you permission to use the wisdom and discernment He provides.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge
and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and
may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Thankfully, what I described above is a rare occurrence in the counseling and coaching office. But wherever people gather, there are times we’ll need to decide between our precious pearls and pigs. What precious pearls are in your hand?
Always reachable here.
1 James 1:5
2 John 8:59
Photo credit: Die2Eyths