Matthew 13:44-46 ~ Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
It is estimated that out of three tons of pearl oysters, only about three of them will have a perfectly-formed pearl. Given everything that is required in order for a pearl to develop, it’s not surprising that so few are produced. An oyster’s shell is made from an organ called the mantle. Using minerals from the oyster’s food as an energy source, the mantle expands, which leads to the shell’s growth. The interior of the shell is lined with a material called nacre, which is also produced by the mantle. In order for a pearl to develop, an irritant–typically a parasite of some sort–must situate itself between the oyster’s shell and mantle. When this particle sets in, it irritates the oyster and, in an effort to protect itself, the mantle begins to cover the foreign object with layers of nacre. As time passes, these layers eventually form a pearl. Typically, this takes about three to five years. (This according to ehow.com)
Is it any wonder real pearls are so costly! A jewel in the house of the Lord is much the same. Out of the congregation of the Lord it is said that only 10% are doing the actual work of the ministry, for which I tend to agree from my travels. They are rare and priceless. It is not to say that many others are not beautiful people making great contribution, but the pearls are those hand selected by God out of an ocean of possibilities.
They’ve gotten there through great irritation!
Be successful in leadership and you’ll understand completely how that pearl gets formed. Every struggle in the ministry, attack of Satan, complaint from the people, personal struggle, sickness and distraction is an irritant that has to be covered. There’s work to be done. So sometimes you wear a “slimy” smile that feels icky but it covers up the pain in your core. And before long that problem is smoothed over and you can rest a while until another issue arises and another layer of kindness or understanding is needed to get through. And much like that iridescent shine created on the pearl as layer after layer of nacre are made, a successful leader begins to shine too.
Successful leaders are not people who have their world completely in hand and under control. Oh contraire! Many, if not most that I know, are exactly the opposite. They have the same issues as everyone else if not worse but they choose to put them aside for the greater cause; which is the people of God and service to the Lord.
They’ve gotten there through many intervals
True leadership is not appointed by position, it’s positioned by appointment. It takes experience to be a leader, and most of those experiences have been a divine appointment from the Creator to train His leaders. Often times because of the politics of the day people are appointed into positions they are not qualified to have, and it inevitably wreaks havoc on an organization. It takes time to become a great leader.
They’re not imitations
Man can create a pearl that looks almost as lovely as the real deal, but the real pearls are rare, priceless, heavily sought and have gotten to that point by years of heartache and struggle. Successful leaders are those who use the irritants of life as a polish their personalities. They identify with and understand the struggles of those they lead because they’ve been there. Just as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ does.
Are you a pearl of great price? Perhaps you’re still in the formation stage. Use those irritants of life to polish yourself into a leader that can be used for the Kingdom’s glory. Amen!