Have you ever stopped and wondered what the phrase, “Throwing Pearls to Pigs” means? Let me ponder that with you right now.
This phrase is found in Matthew 7:6. “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.”
There are many parts to this verse when it pertains to the pig section. It starts out by saying, “do not throw.” Other translations say, “cast.” In the Greek that is so strong that it can be translated, “NEVER cast your pearls to swine.” So this isn’t a suggestion, it is an order to never throw your pearls to pigs.
The next word I want to look at is “Pearls.” This is the Greek word margarites. That is where you get the name Margaret. Pearls are formed in shells located on the floor of the sea. They are formed over time and are rare and can be very valuable. I believe Jesus is talking about the things God has done for you. You can’t put a price on the things you have learned over the years through God’s Word, experiences, and godly counsel. Like pearls, those life lessons are invaluable because they cost you something. You had to go deep with God to obtain spiritual treasures.
Every time you share with someone you need to remember that you are sharing your pearls with them. The counsel and advice you’re giving may be free to them, but it has cost you everything!
It is also interesting that Jesus would use the analogy of a pig or a swine. When I was just a teenager, I worked on a pig farm. I learned many lessons working with these creatures. One lesson I learned is that pigs do nothing and are motivated for nothing except eating. When they knew you were coming to feed them, they would go as far as hurt each other in order to get to the food first. It reminds me of some buffet lines I have been in… Pigs were very well known in Jesus’ day. They were considered the lowest and most unclean animal. For Jesus to refer to people as pigs was a very graphic depiction. It is a picture of a consumer. They take, take, and take. They eat and then want more. They never think to ask where the food came from, who paid for it, or what process was required to produce it. Not one “thank you” is heard (not that they could even voice it). They are just careless consumers never contributing to the farm until they’re on their way to the market never to return.
This is the picture Jesus paints of people who don’t appreciate the advice that is freely given to them from the depths of another person’s life. Unfortunately I can recall times when I was a careless consumer of other people’s time and energy. I can remember not caring how the other person obtained the wisdom, what it cost them to obtain it, or how long it took for them to come to this point in their relationship with God. I think of it often when I am on the advice end and feel drained of all my strength only to see someone continue to repeat a destructive behavior and not heed the advice.
Let’s look at this verse in light of the meanings described above…
“Never invest too much time, energy, or money into people who don’t even care about what you are doing for them! I’m commanding you not to share your ‘pearls’ – those precious details, experiences, and parts of your life that have cost you so much – with people who live and act like ungrateful pigs…”
Seems pretty harsh but is wise because someone who is not open for God to move on their life will eventually pull you in on the drama and dysfunction of their own demise. Better to pray for them and allow the Holy Spirit to convict their heart and convince them of their need for God’s Word and wisdom. Many times people will just harden their heart even more as you voice words of concern and wisdom.
I pray that you will not encounter or encompass the life of a pig. Let me tell you from personal experience, it’s miserable.
I’m looking forward to an incredible day of worship on Sunday.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene