In a modern illustration of Jesus' parable of the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45), a woman finds a valuable pearl in an obscure shop. The merchant says he will give it to the woman in exchange for everything she has. Wanting badly to own the pearl, she writes a check for several thousand dollars, emptying her savings and checking accounts. The merchant asks, "What about your house?" The woman signs over the deed. "What about your two cars?" She signs them both over to him. "What about your boat and your vacation home? Your stocks and bonds, retirement funds, and life insurance?" The woman transfers all of these to the merchant.
Then the merchant says, "Now the pearl is yours." The woman is delighted! She turns to leave, but the merchant stops her, saying, "Here is all that you have given me to purchase the pearl; I am giving all these things to you. They still belong to me, but I will let you have full use of them for as long as you live. The only thing I ask is, whenever possible, share my houses, my cars, and my other wealth with those I send your way."
The woman is overcome with joy. "Of course, thank you!"
"Remember," says the merchant, "you may use these things as if they are your own, but on occasion, I will ask you to share them or even give them away to others."
This stewardship story comes from the congregational stewardship emphasis center section of Volume 15 of the Giving: Growing Faithful Stewards in Your Congregation magazine. When paired with accompanying theme materials and companion resources, the Giving collection offers more than a dozen different timeless theme options to create an annual stewardship emphasis for your congregation. Peruse them all in the ESC web store.