Mark 8:36-37 NASB
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world,
and forfeit his soul?
For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
What is the soul of a man and why is it so dire for a man to focus on his or her soul? How much is it worth? How much do you truly ponder about the value of your immortal soul? Many go their entire lives without it crossing their mind in the least. I wish to offer a few remarks, to enforce and illustrate the question which the Lord Jesus asks in the passage before us. I pray after this short discussion; one might take the thought of one’s soul more deeply than they ever felt about the value of an immortal soul before!
Everyone on earth has an undying soul. Who ever thinks of doubting that we have souls? Here in our society we fix our attention on the progress of this age, an age of bustling technological advancements, entertainment, money, entitlement, and self-satisfactions. J.C Ryle states that “We live in an age when there is a false glare on things of time, and a great mist over the things of eternity” (J.C. Ryle, 1877). As ministers of the Word of God, woe unto us, if we do not cry out to the world that “the things of this world is not all that there is.” The life that we now live in the flesh is not the only life. There is a life to come. We have souls! This life we live in the flesh is but a vapor, a breath, or even a blink of an eye. It’s here one day and gone the next. “All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all will return to the dust” (Ecclesiastes 3:20, NASB). This mortal body has its final resting place in which it is inevitable to escape, but the soul of the man it has an eternal destination after this earthly life has been blown out. Like a breath in the cold winter air, its visible one second and gone in an instant. This is our lives! Do you understand this? Life isn’t about living a life to the worlds standard of the fullest. If one lives their life in that way it leads them straight into Sheol. A life that is beat into submission to the obedience of God, is the only life worth living. Our souls yearn for final reconciliation with our Lord and creator. It’s a life-long battle with one’s flesh to remain obedient to God.
“Far down in the human heart, beneath the rubbish heaped up by the Fall, there is an inscription which nothing can efface, telling us that the world is not all, and that everyone has an undying soul” (J.C. Ryle)
But why is this soul of ours of such importance? Why do we go day by day ignoring the simple fact that this body will perish but the soul of a man will never go away? Is this of no importance? Is your soul tossed to the side until you find yourself knocking at death's door waiting for the angel of death to move swiftly and take your mere life away? Do you wait till then? Eternity separated from God, because one chooses to live their best life now is the heaviest price one should ever pay. Never ending torment, weeping and gnashing of teeth, and fires that are never quenched. “All mankind will come to bow down before Me, says the Lord. Then they will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrence to all mankind” (Isaiah 66:23-24, NASB). Hell is tossed around as some sinner’s paradise in today's society. The grim fate awaits many, and they will have wished they gave their souls more thought when among the living. Many people spend all their energy seeking pleasure. Jesus said, however, that a world of pleasure centered on possessions, position, or power is ultimately worthless. Whatever you have on this earth is temporary; it cannot be exchanged for your soul. You may find yourself working hard throughout life to get to where you want to be. Which will satisfy one’s pleasure temporarily. You will find yourself hallow, empty, and wanting more.
“I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.” And behold, it too was futility. I said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?” I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives. I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself; I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; I made ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves and I had homeborn slaves. Also, I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men—many concubines. Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, NASB).
I will leave you with this to meditate on throughout the course of your week. Jesus never says don’t enjoy life. He is simply saying live your life to glorify the one who gave that life to you. Praise him, worship him, and make God your life. Live a life in obedience to Jesus Christ. He bore our sins on the cross so that one day we could be reunited with the Father. For he is the only way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ. Are you willing to let your glimmer of a life condemn you for eternity? So how much is your soul worth?