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Trae Durden

To make a pearl

FRANKLIN LIVING—To make a pearl, an oyster needs two things: an irritant and time.

The oyster was created to cope with the irritant and to flourish even with that aggravation. The oyster gives a tiny, little bit of itself to the irritant. It secretes a substance called nacre, which is what it makes its shell with. It makes one layer and then another – and then scores and then hundreds – and eventually thousands of incredibly thin layers of nacre that are lustrous and iridescent.

To produce a great pearl, it can take 20 years. An oyster might only live as long as 40 years and might produce two pearls in its whole life. There is a mollusk called the silver-lipped pearl oyster that produced a single pearl that sold for $1.5 million dollars.

For a human being to produce loving-kindness, you need two things: an irritant and time. God will give you time, and God will give you an irritant. In fact, there are irritants all around!

If we choose to focus on the frustrations and aggravations in this life, we’ll become miserable people. When you realign your perspective, however, those irritants become opportunities for you to be loving and kind. You can give a little bit of yourself in service to others – in service to your irritant. Over time you’ll cover them in love, and you’ll forget the irritating things they use to do and say. All of that will be replaced with your love. Eventually, instead of looking like an irritant, they’ll start to look like Jesus to you; they might actually become one of your greatest treasures!

How would our lives change if we all focused on developing love and kindness in our lives toward other people? How would those who have been aggravating to you in the past react if you started to cover them in love instead of anger?

The Bible teaches us God initiated a relationship with us, even though we were sinners. His grace reaches us every day, in spite of the fact that we disregard His teachings and way of life. We should emulate His love for us in the way we treat others. When we choose to give loving-kindness to others, especially those who have hurt us, that’s when we’re living like Christ – and the great pearl of living like Him is worth more than all the money in the world!

Trae Durden has been the preaching minister at North Highlands church of Christ in Russellville since January 2013. He is married to Leann Durden, and they have a daughter, Darcy Grace, 15, and a son, Dalton, 12.