I’ve just driven through an area which holds one of the world’s oldest and rarest plants, which has been named the dinosaur of trees because of its great age and rarity.
The Wollemi pine became the centre of a dramatic canyoning exploration trip that led to its discovery, scientific detective work to determine what the forty-metre tree was, and the determined ongoing effort to protect its location from discovery and from fungal infection, while also putting Australia on the map for its discovery.
With less than 100 adult trees known to exist in the wild, the Wollemi Pine, which was thought to be extinct until 1994, is now documented as a living treasure and protected, with the grove of trees a secret from the general public, so that it is kept safe from harm and extinction.
When bush fires swept through the region, which holds the only living Wollemi pines found anywhere on the planet, great lengths were taken to protect and ensure their survival by a specialised team of firefighters on the ground and in the air. The rescue mission involved water-bombing aircraft and large air tankers dropping fire retardant. Helicopters also winched specialist firefighters into the remote gorge to set up an irrigation system to increase the moisture content of the ground fields to slow the advance of any fire.
The Wollemi pine and its conservation is an illustration of the lengths people are capable of taking when they recognise the significance of something or someone, and the effort we can put into pursuing and protecting it.
How often do we, however, treat people and our relationships with as much regard as conservationists do for an endangered species of trees?
Do we or would we go to such lengths to enable a relationship which we have committed to honouring and holding precious to be able to survive? Or do we take things and people for granted because we don’t recognise or acknowledge the value of who or what we have in front of us once we have found it.
Jesus shared that his kingdom and the relationship he offers us are like a precious pearl that a man discovered in a field. On realising the value of what he found he went home, sold all he owned and returned and bought the field so that he could have the pearl as his own. Jesus said we are like that pearl to Him and he wants us to be the same with Him, that we would be prepared to give up everything else for the privilege of knowing Him and all he has to offer us.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45-46)
Today, take a moment to acknowledge the “pearls” that are in your life and the fact that Jesus, His Kingdom and all that He brings into your life are like precious pearls, so that you can align your choices and who you are with that truth.
Prayer: Lord, please help me to value the people and everything that you have blessed my life with. Most of all, thank you that I can know you, for you are the "pearl" of the greatest price. In Jesus name Amen.