A merchant is not a builder, but a bargainer. She/he uses the power of trade to obtain a desired object or payment, not the power of labor.
When the merchant in Matthew 13:45-46 found a pearl of astonishing value, he desired it. He could not get it by the means Jacob got his two wives and many flocks, though (Genesis 29). Jacob worked for 7 years for Rachael, and then discovered that he had been deceived into buying Leah. He worked 7 more years to purchase Rachael, whom he desired. More time was spent in the service of his uncle Laban to gain herds of animals to take with him when he left Laban’s ranch. Even after suffering the lengthy time of labor to obtain her, he lost her soon in death.
We cannot work to obtain the Pearl. We can only trade all we have. All of life – property, relationships, prestige – that is what it costs us to obtain Jesus. But when we have received Him, we have more than enough.