“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs.” - Matthew 7:6
Last week I mentioned Maria, a young African Christian who attended an international camp. When some of the other attenders asked how her church back home led people to Christ, she responded: “We don’t have missions or give pamphlets away. We just send one or two Christian families to live and work in a village, and when people see what Christians are like, then they want to be Christians too.”
It’s encouraging to know that when we follow Christ well, it can be very attractive to non-believers. When people experience Christ’s honesty, grace, and unconditional love in our words and actions, it can be magnetic. Many people, when they see what committed Christians are like, want to become Christians too. But sadly, many others don’t. Many people get a taste of what Christians stand for, and they want nothing to do with it. As hard as it might be for us to believe, many people hate Christianity with a passion. So, Jesus turns to us in Matthew 7:6 and says: “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”
What are these sacred pearls of Jesus that are hated and stomped on by many unbelievers? I suggest that these pearls are the truths and the values that Christ has been sharing in the Sermon on the Mount. These sacred pearls include: the word of God (Matt. 5:17-20), human life (Matt. 5:21-22), Biblical marriage and chastity (Matt. 5:27-28 and 31-32), speaking the truth (Matt. 5:33-37), and the greatest pearl of all —the pearl of great price, Jesus Christ.
So, in Matthew 7:6, Jesus is telling us not to beat a dead horse. When someone makes it clear that he/she despises God’s word and doesn’t want to hear it, move on. At times—because we’re passionate about God’s word and care about people’s salvation—we keep handing pearls to individuals who don’t want them. “Save yourself for your wedding night!” “Don’t pursue a homosexual lifestyle!” “Don’t get a divorce!” “Accept Jesus Christ as your savior!” Time and time again, that person snatches those pearls out of our hands, stomps on them, then verbally tears us to shreds. Jesus is saying, “Take the hint. Move on. Keep praying for them. Keep loving them unconditionally. But move on. Share your pearls with others who will love and treasure them.”
Now, Jesus boldly and publicly shared even the most controversial pearls of Christianity, and he taught his apostles to do the same. Some people in the crowds accepted and loved his pearls, while others mocked them and stomped on them. But as long as there were at least a few people who received the pearls with a willing heart, Jesus and his followers kept sharing them. However, there were times when Jesus refused to share his pearls. For example, when the Pharisees would corner him and try to trick him into saying something that could be grounds for arrest, at times Jesus refused to answer them. There was no point. It was a waste of his time. And in Luke 10:8-12, Jesus told his followers to wipe the dust off their feet and leave a town if the citizens made it clear that they wanted nothing to do with Christ. In those situations, it would be fruitless to beat a dead horse. So, Jesus told them to cut their losses and move on.
We have to share the great pearls of Christianity publicly. Our culture desperately needs to see the pearls. But when individuals start attacking our pearls more than admiring them, we need to back off. And when we share these pearls publicly and the powers that be are stomping our pearls more than listening to them, we need to move on. In those cases we pray, “Lord, I shared Your truth with them. Now, it’s up to You to convict them of the truth. Until You tell me otherwise, I’m going to share Your pearls with someone else.”
We all know people who despise the pearls of our Christian faith. But that should never stop us from lifting these beautiful pearls up for the world to see, especially the greatest pearl: Jesus Christ. Some people will criticize your faith, slander your beliefs and try to stomp on your savior. But others will hear you talking about those pearls and watch you living out those pearls, and for them, it will be magnetic. They’ll see what Christians look like, and they’ll want to become Christians too.
One word of caution: When we take a stand for Christ publicly, we need to make sure we’re holding up the right pearls. For example, Donald Trump is NOT a Biblical pearl. Barack Obama is not a Biblical pearl either. And millions of people in our nation want nothing to do with Christianity right now, because so many of us have been holding up their favorite of our last two presidents as if he was a pearl.
completely understand why so many Christians voted for Trump. Many of his
policies lined up beautifully with many of the pearls we hold dear: the sanctity
of human life, traditional marriage, supporting
So, when you lift up Biblical pearls in your little corner of the world, make sure that you’re lifting up the ones that matter most. Share the pearls of God’s word, God’s values—and most of all, that pearl of great price, Jesus Christ.
Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our in-person worship service tomorrow at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on the Impact Christian Church YouTube channel or Facebook page. For more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.