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The Parable of the Merchant and the Gem

There once was a merchant that owned the most beautiful jewelry store.  It wasn’t just any jewelry store however.  It was located amongst a promenade of stores on a riverfront. There were clothing boutiques, restaurants, candy shops and even other jewelry stores along this riverfront but nothing was more special than her jewelry store.  This jewelry store was special for many reasons but mostly it was because of what it contained.  It was inviting from the outside but inside it was brilliant. People would come to shop but many didn’t buy anything, they couldn’t, what it contained was priceless.  Some came to the store to just sit and enjoy the brilliance of the gems as they glistened in their glass boxes.  Others would converse with the merchant over the jewelry and at times try it on.  One thing was certain however for every shopper is that they left feeling encouraged and loved just being in the presence of the aroma of the sparkle.  The merchant would allow all those that desired to enter to come in but only a few were allowed to get close to the most precious gem in the golden case.  See this gem was so brilliant that at times it would cause those that looked upon it to get mesmerized.  They would think they could touch it and actually own it, but that was for the merchant to decide.  One day, a wealthy man who had all the qualifications to purchase the gem came into the store.  There have been men prior that have attempted the purchase but failed.  The merchant became more and more cautious over the years of those inquiring of the gem so she spent time with this man, asking questions and surprisingly she actually enjoying his company.  After some time, she let him touch the gem.  He left the store without purchasing it because the merchant felt as though something wasn’t “quite right” with the potential buyer.  She agonized over her decision to let him leave without the purchase and even asked a few other merchants their opinion.  She asked the clothing boutique owner, the ice cream shop owner, and even another jewelry store owner but her mistake was taking advice from those who don’t own a gem like hers.  Their responses led her to feelings of frustration and guilt.  She realized she can’t ask those who don’t have the honor and privilege of owning such a rare gem how to protect her own.  The merchant became very frustrated so she went to the owner.  He not only owned all of the buildings in the promenade but the river as well.  He always allowed the shop owners to sell as they wished but had the wisdom to manage what and how they sold. He offered this advice and wisdom freely but rarely did anyone inquire of him.  The merchant asked the owner, “how do I know who to sell my most precious gem to?”  The owner answered, that is for me to decide, not you.  See, I am the one that paid the price for that gem.  Actually, I own it, not you.  I gave it to you as a gift to give away however, every time you allow someone to touch it, you dull it’s shine.  Eventually, if you are not careful, with more and more exposure the gem will lose its brilliance and it will be just like all the other gems in the store, still shinning but not brilliant.  Patience, my daughter, he said.  I know you have allowed all to the enter the store, thank you for that.  You are so loving and caring to share the brilliance of your gems with everyone, that’s why they all come!  You have showed discernment as to who you allow to get close to the most precious gem, well done! Continue to use wisdom in that, but where you have failed is to fully guard that most brilliant gem.  Every time you allow someone to touch it or think they may be able to purchase it, you lie and that’s why you feel so frustrated.  Perhaps it is time you allow me to lock the gold case so only I have the key and when it is time I will unlock it. The merchant walked away from the owner, with a very big decision to make.  Would she allow the one who owns the shop, the river and ultimately the gem to guard it for her and decide when it is to be sold?  Can she enjoy being around many and share the aroma of the sparkle of the other jewelry in her shop and still keep a lock on the gold case with the most precious gem?  Will she stop asking others who have not received such a gift for advice and listen to the one who has all wisdom?  She walked along that river front allowing the sweet breeze off the water to calm her soul and speak to her spirit. 

She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

Proverbs 3:15

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