Protect Those Pearls!

"Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you." – Matthew 7:6

Have you ever shared something special with someone and they didn't appreciate what you shared?   Perhaps it was a meal you cooked, a photo you took, or some time and talents that you sacrificially gave.  

When I was a child I encountered God in a profound and life-changing manner.  As I have shared the story of my God-encounter over the years, I have learned that not everyone knows how to respond to it nor is everyone ready to hear it.  Some people respond by saying, "there is no way that actually happened."  Others act like they are listening, but really their attention is focused elsewhere.  And still others tell me that my interpretation of the event is wrong.

Over the years though, I have learned that there are some people who can appreciate the preciousness of the spiritual event and in their response they make it all the more precious.  For example, when I first shared the story with my now husband, he responded by sharing how he had read about a similar experience in a book and the story had left quite an impact on him.  When I shared the story in witnessing to a close acquaintance, the spiritual encounter grabbed her attention and she wanted to hear more.  And when I shared the story with a good friend, she listened intently and experienced God in the telling.

In Matthew we hear Jesus warning us to "not give what is holy to dogs" and to "not throw your pearls before swine."  I've interpreted these words to mean not sharing what is sacred in places where it may be trampled.  But consider that these words may also be instructing us to not correct a person who is not ready to receive the correction.  Or perhaps it means, as one commentary suggests, to only give to one who is ready to receive.  Perhaps these words of Christ carry similar meaning to the old adage, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."

What do these words of Jesus mean to you?  What are the pearls in your life?  What is holy and set apart as precious in your life?  How have you protected your pearls?  How have you given that which is holy to the swine?

Precious, Loving, and Merciful God.  Help me to be aware of the pearls in my life and the places where I am tempted to give them to swine.  Guide me in knowing what is holy and then show me how to protect the holy gifts that you have given me. Amen

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