For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? (Mark 8:36–37)
This is about ownership and possessions. It’s about stuff — money, houses, reputation, land, business. Suppose your heart considers the worth of Jesus and then considers the worth of possessions. The gladness you could have in Jesus versus the gladness you could have in things. And suppose your heart is drawn to prefer possessions, which is what is happening to many people. Suppose your heart is drawn to prefer the worth of possessions, and you turn away from Jesus, and you embrace as superior to Jesus all that earthly possessions can give you. And suppose you succeed all your life — nothing but success. And by the end of your life, suppose you own everything, yes you have all the money and all money can buy.
The guestions Jesus is asking us today is, how or what does it profit you if you gain the whole world and forfeit your life? Is there anything in the world that’s worth the price of your soul? This question is to urge us to take a much wiser approach to the way we invest our lives, and the return we expect on our investment. The principle of relative value is a very basic economic truth, understood by everyone in every culture on earth. You should only pay for something what it’s worth. So Jesus is really asking this: what is there in the world you might buy at the price of your life, your character, your eternal salvation, that could possibly be worth it? “He sold his soul to the devil.” That’s what we say about someone who has purchased worldly success at the cost of personal integrity. We rightly despise such a person.
But that sort of bargain isn’t just contemptible, it’s stupid. It pays far too much and receives far too little in return. Here’s another way to think of it. We all have been given just one life. By the choices we make, the beliefs we adopt, the values we embrace, the causes we support, the way we spend our time and money, each of us is investing that life in something. So here’s the question: is what you are spending yourself on worth it? Jesus urges us to take a wise approach to the way we invest our lives, and to think carefully about the return we will get on our investment.
I Declare: Dear Lord, please forgive me for the times when I have focused my priorities and my pursuits on things that are not eternally significant. Help me today to focus my priorities on Jesus and his desire for my life.
Ignite Thought:The most important thing in life is not a thing; it’s a Person.