(First published June 10, 2009.)
Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is like this….
Jakov was a man with a passion. He knew pearls. He had spent his whole life looking at pearls, looking for pearls. He could tell where they came from. He could tell what they were worth. Jakov knew what it was like to walk away from a deal because the seller wasn’t being honest. He knew what could be done to hide the blemishes on a pearl. None knew better.
People respected him. People feared him. People knew that his approval of your pearls meant an extra 10 shekels on the price you could charge. “Jakov shops here.”
Jakov walked in the shop that Thursday with a mixture of anticipation and resignation. He was always looking for “The Pearl.” He was always sure he would find it. He was always trading good for better, nice for fine. But he was also aware that this late in the week, sellers were trying to move their stock before the Shabbat. And moving stock meant dim light and pearls with a slightly greasy feeling.
He flicked through the pearls with a practiced finger.
“Nu. Nu. Nu. N…”
He willed his heart to still. He willed his breath out. He willed his finger to stop trembling.
If the seller had any clue of what Jakov knew, the price would double, would triple.
Jakov shook his head. “Not tonight.”
Slowly Jakov moved out of the shop.
Slowly he walked home.
And as quickly as he dared, he began selling. He gave people good deals, but not so good they thought they could take advantage of him. Not so good they would ask questions. But good enough that they would buy.
A week later, he walked back into the shop.
He put down a bag and bought the pearl. With everything he had.
It was “The Pearl.”