Thursday, March 1, 2018
“What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, yet lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36
These are Jesus words, filled with thought provoking wisdom. They were spoken by a man who grew up as the son of a carpenter, in a small village. He was not rich, He didn’t even have a place of His own to lay His head. One one occasion, when asked if He was hungry, Jesus replied that His food was to do the work of His Father. Jesus was a God/Man who knew about the importance of having priorities in order.
In Matthew 19, a story is told of how a wealthy and influential young man came to Jesus to ask what he had to do to earn his entrance into heaven. He listed his resume for the Master, letting Him know that he had kept the commandments, and had been a “good person”. Jesus, returned by saying that the young man had yet to sell all of his worldly possessions, give the money to the poor, then come to be His disciple. Was that really the key to gaining entrance into heaven?
Jesus was not laying out a prescription for paradise. Rather, Jesus was getting at an issue that He knew was in the young man’s heart. The young man treasured his wealth more than the opportunity to walk closely with the Lord. When he heard the call to sacrifice it all, the young man walked away from Jesus sorrowfully. Jesus was getting at the heart of the young man’s primary issue, that of idolatry.
Martin Luther once described human beings as “idol factories”. He was right! We were created by God as active worshippers, that is to say that we are always worshipping something. We readily pour ourselves into a multitude of pursuits, and elevate our own existence above the will of God. It is the nature of our affections to be inclined toward something…anything. We were intended to love and worship God, but sin has presented many more options for our attentions.
Jesus’ words are a clear call to us today. His question is just as relevant, “What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, yet lose his own soul?”. What will it gain you and I if we master our earthly existence with no regard for eternity? Jesus calls to us to come and follow Him, to acknowledge Him as Lord and receive from Him. He is the lover of our souls, and knows exactly what we need.