Pearl Potential by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

(John 13:35, NIV)

“Why do you like them?” It’s a question I occasionally receive concerning my choice of friends. The answer is: “I see their potential.”

It’s easy to pick people apart and focus on their shortcomings, but have you ever asked God to reveal the greatness in a person? It is not always evident, but God has given me an ability to look beyond the surface of an individual to see their capability. I believe most everyone has been created to be a beautiful pearl, but like a pearl, their gifts may take years to mature.

Jesus saw the pearls in people. When he encountered the Samaritan woman at the well, The Savior, already knowing the woman’s scandalous past, could have avoided her, could have found another well in which to quench his thirst, but he chose to see worthiness rather than faults. Despite the fact that she lived with a man who was not her husband and had five other husbands, this woman knew Scripture: She said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us. ”Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he” (John 4:25–26, NIV).

After that revelation, the woman took a step toward here evangelical calling and proclaimed to her community: “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him (John 4:29–30). The Samaritan woman was already fulfilling the potential that Jesus saw in her.

The people God brings to us to influence may not come in the package that we imagined. They may have irritating tendencies. They may be socially awkward. They may be emotionally needy. However, what if we prayed that the LORD would open our eyes to the strengths that He has planted in them? What if we were meant to be in their lives to model God’s character to them, and to encourage them to fulfill their God-given destiny? Would it help us to get past what bothers us if we saw them as a pearl in progress?

When I look at my own history, I know there are those who have walked away from me for one reason or another, but I am thankful for the friends who saw my pearl potential rather than all the faults. It is because of the encouragers that I am still serving God in ministry today.

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One Comment

  1. Hallelujah to your insight and testimony. I needed this. So I pray for divine strength to hold on to some friends I was planning to let go and the grace to be less critical in Christ Jesus name Amen.
    God bless

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