Disclaimer: I am taking creative license with Jesus’ stories in this series. I realize that I am making different applications and changing some details. However, the principles in the parables I am sharing are what I believe the Bible and Christian experience teach us about marriage.
There was once a gentleman who was in search of the rarest, most lovely jewel in the world. His search led him to big city jewelers and small town shops all over the world. There were many beautiful pieces to be sure.
As he gazed in the windows of shop after shop, he admired the glittery shimmer of the diamonds and the brilliance of the emeralds and the cool sophistication of the sapphires. He watched as many a person would lift these pieces from their velvet cases and make their selections.
Yet, he couldn’t seem to find what he wanted. There were many jewels worthy of his admiration, but none for which he was willing to spend his hard-earned fortune.
One day, he was walking along a busy street and musing to himself that perhaps the jewel he wanted wasn’t to be found. Perhaps it was all in his imagination that such a rare beauty existed and he was only wasting his time by chasing empty dreams.
As he pondered this, he prepared to turn back towards home when a small sign caught his eye. It was unassuming and rather plain compared to the many jeweler’s signs he had seen over the years of his search. However, something about the name drew him, “The Master’s Jewelry Shop”.
He looked to the shop windows and saw that there were no jewels on display. He wondered if the shop had closed, but the owner had left the sign as a memorial. Yet, when he looked again, he saw that there was a light on and an elderly gentleman leaned over a work bench in the back of the shop.
He pushed open the door and looked around the room. There was no merchandise to be seen. The gentleman turned from his work to see a perplexed look on the newcomer’s face.
“May I help you?” he asked kindly.
“Well,” the man stammered, “I thought you were a jeweler.”
“Wh…where are your jewels, then, Sir?”
The elderly gentleman didn’t answer but gestured to the man to come near to his workbench. He pointed to a small pile of dirty looking lumps of some coal-like substance.
“Here are some of them.”
The man looked at them in disgust.
“Those aren’t jewels! What do you take me for, anyway?” he exclaimed angrily. He turned to leave.
“Please wait. You haven’t seen them all yet.”
The man reluctantly turned back, looking suspiciously at the older gentleman.
“You must remember, Sir,” the master explained, “that the rarest and most beautiful gems are not kept on display for all to see and handle.”
He motioned again for the man to come near and continued,
“No, the most precious gems are kept carefully away from all that would pollute them and all that would mishandle them.”
He gently opened a drawer and drew back a velvet cloth. There lay several beautiful red rubies that took the man’s breath away as he gazed at them. As the master tucked the cloth back around the jewels and closed the drawer, he asked in a hushed tone, “How much do you want for one of your rubies?”
“I will allow you to purchase one of my precious jewels, but you must let me choose which one you will take.”
The man sputtered. “You choose? Who are you to tell me how to spend my money!?” He almost turned to leave again, but saw the look in the older man’s eyes. Both were quiet for a moment, just looking at one another, waiting. Finally, the master jeweler spoke softly.
“I will tell you who I am and why I am qualified to make the choice for you. I traveled from a far country to this area to search for rare and beautiful jewels. I found shops filled with admirable jewels, but I knew that they were rather easy to find. I wanted those jewels that most would never see.I spent many days and nights mining in the depths of earth and nearly died in many a mine collapse. I found these.”
He gestured again to the dirty lumps on his workbench.
“I saw in them what no one else from the big city stores had seen. I have spent many hours working here to clean the debris of the deepest mines from my jewels. I have polished them with the harshest of processes to make sure they are genuine and will stand the test. They have become beautiful under my testing and my care. I don’t want to give them to just anyone.”
“I’m willing to pay, of course, Sir!” the man retorted. “I have amassed a great fortune and will pay dearly if I may but find the jewel for which I’ve been searching.”
“I will only choose a jewel for you if you are willing to pay what I have paid.”
“What price have you paid, Sir?”
The elderly man did not answer, but held out his hands to the willing customer. They were scarred from the work of years, mangled from the life’s service he had given to his rare and precious jewels that began as clumps others thought were mere dirt.
“Will you give of yourself to protect this jewel with your very life as I have given my life to obtain its beauty?”
The man thought long, then nodded slowly.
“Since you have given of your life, I will give my life to protect the jewel you choose for me.”
The elderly man smiled and pointed to one of the jewels on his workbench.
“This jewel has the potential to be one of the most beautiful and precious in the world. But you and your money can do nothing to make it beautiful. Each day, you must bring it to me and I will work on it. You will see more and more of its beauty the longer you possess it. However, you must never fail to protect it with your very life even when you fail to see its beauty.”
The man’s search was over. He diligently brought his jewel to the master jeweler each day, and true to the master’s word, it became more and more beautiful the longer he possessed it.
At the end of his life, he looked back and saw that, indeed, his life had been spent in caring for the jewel. He looked down and saw hands scarred with years of work and toil on behalf of his jewel. He had allowed the Master Jeweler to refine his jewel, and it had become more beautiful that he could have ever imagined. In the process, the Jeweler had refined him as well.
Such is the picture of marriage as designed by the Master. A refining process over years. A man that totally gives of himself to protect the jewel he has been given but daily brings her to the Master and trusts the refining process to Him. A woman that submits to the protection and provision of her husband and the painful refining of the Master to make her into a thing of beauty. And a beautiful thing it is.