Sometimes you never know what you will stumble upon during little getaways. This week, my wife’s parents are in town. This gave us the option to get out of Bangkok for a few days and visit the beautiful south of Thailand. We headed down to Phuket to see some pristine beaches and put our feet up a little as we play with our daughter who loves water more than any 8-month-old should.
The tourist books all pointed the seashell lovers in our group toward the shell museum at the south of the island near Chalong Bay. This museum would be to museums what a hole-in-the-wall restaurant would be to restaurants. The museum sneaks up on you, and yet you have no idea what is inside. If word got out what great gems and finds this place has, the corridors would be mobbed with shell enthusiasts and even casual shell onlookers who only show up for the playoffs, like most Laker fans.
The stairway down to the basement where shells from around the world are kept incased in glass is inlaid with shell pieces leading visitors into a shell world of delight.
Yet within the little house of many shells laid a find worthy of the great museums of Paris, London or New York.
The small museum is in a basement, beneath a gift shop in the south of Phuket, and here laid an exquisite pearl. In fact, the pearl held in this case was the biggest and most symmetrical gold pearl ever found (140 karats).
I couldn’t help but think how this museum must have gone to any length possible to attain the pearl as a centerpiece to their museum. I couldn’t help but think of how the pearl must have been just like the one in the parable Jesus told in Matthew 13.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
Walking the museum, I get the sense when this pearl was found; the museum went to more than great lengths to obtain the great pearl. How could they not. In fact, I see this as the same as the great merchant in the story of Jesus. It is not as though we walk through a palatial museum and happen across this pearl, but in fact, we found it in an obscure little place in a remote corner of Phuket.
When we find the kingdom of God, we will sacrifice all we have to gain the treasure that is life with Jesus. It is not as though we add Jesus to a house full of treasures or a trophy room to display all of our beliefs. Jesus becomes the one centerpiece to who we are. We forsake all others and run to Jesus with abandon.
This is the first time I stumbled upon a valuable treasure that seemed out of place. Have you ever seen a work of art or valuable find that seemed more valuable than the home that contained it?