Vol. 3, No. 8
That man has a soul, or a spirit, or an inward man, cannot be denied by anyone who has ever read his Bible. That the soul, spirit or inward man is the part of us which shall live forever is also taught within the pages of the New Testament. Not only so, but Jesus taught us something very important about the value of the eternal soul of man when he asked, "For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26) These two questions were intended to be rhetorical by our Lord, and by asking them he was telling us something very important about that part of each of us that none of us has ever seen.
The context in which Jesus asked these questions was his emphasis to his disciples that they were going to have to be ready to forfeit, if necessary, their own souls in order to follow him and to carry out the work he had for them to do. In attempting to emphasize that if they lost everything this world had to offer but succeeded in saving their own souls by their service to him, they would be the better because the soul of just one of those disciples was worth more than all the world. Jesus was, no doubt, using a figure of speech here called a hyperbole, because no one that we know has any idea of the value of the world, but whatever it is it is much less valuable than just one soul of one of the disciples of Christ.
The question is not so much what kind of value the Lord places upon the soul of one of his creatures, as it is how much value do we place upon our own souls? Many in the world today, and in the church today, place much greater value upon the frivolous things of this world than they do upon their own souls. We realize fully that such a statement is a rather radical one, but we are simply making the statement on the basis of what we see people putting first in their lives. There are those people who are called "workaholics," and to them there is nothing more important than working and making money with all the physical satisfaction that goes with that. For others who are materialists there is nothing more important in this life than acquiring more and more of this world's goods, even to the neglect of their immortal souls. For the hedonists there is nothing more important than engaging in that which is pleasurable, whether sinful or not. Some people are addicted to sinful pleasures which come first in their lives, and for others there is the addiction to non-sinful pleasures which also come first in their lives, but nothing comes before pleasure. The only reason they work is in order to engage in more pleasure, just as the only reason the materialist works is to acquire more of the things of this earth. But the point which we wish to emphasize is there are people, even in the body of Christ, who will put almost anything and everything before the interests of their souls, and in the place of serving God who never take a look at the value of what they are sacrificing in order to have earthly things for which they lust.
It seems to me that one way we can determine what is really important to us and for us is to ask if we wish to be found engaging in such an activity, or thinking, in the hour when we must pass from this world through the door of death. Do I wish to die thinking on spiritual things, with my interest centered upon those, or do I wish to die thinking only of the material with my interest centered upon those things. Well, it seems to me, that one can answer that question only in light of the value he/she places upon his/her soul. The time of death will be too late to make changes in favor of spiritual things, that must be done in this life. What is really important to you, what the world has to offer or your eternal soul?