Sunday, January 15, 2017

Profit At Any Price

$ Profit At Any Price $
by Bryan J. Neva, Sr.

"For what shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? - Jesus (Mark 8:36)

In Jesus' rhetorical question in Mark 8:36, he is trying to compare the value or worth of one human soul to the value of the entire world. Experts have estimated the value of the entire world to be around $200 quadrillion (that is $200 with 15 zeros behind it). Essentially Jesus is saying that the value of just one human soul is infinitely more valuable than the value of the entire world; to put it another way, the value of the soul is as immeasurable as infinity! 

If one human soul is worth more than the value of the world, then consider the current estimated world population of 7.5 billion people; if you multiply the world population by the estimated value of the world you'd get $1.5 septillion (that is $15 with 23 zeros behind it)! In other words, the value of the world's population is still infinitely greater than the value the world!

Let's reverse the question Jesus askedFor what shall it profit a man, if he lost the whole world, and gained his own soul?  Suppose you decided that in order to gain your soul, you'd give up all your wealth? You'd barely possess life's necessities, or lived in the most abject poverty just to gain the infinite wealth of your soul? What you'd give up would be drop in the ocean compared to what you'd gain. Now I'm not recommending you do this (unless God somehow inspired you to do so like he did to St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, India) my only point is to illustrate how valuable your soul is compared to the little bit of wealth you may have accumulated in your life, which is a pittance compared to the infinite value of your soul.

You'll hear some people talk about the losses they've suffered on the sale of their homes, possessions, stocks, or bonds etc.; you'll hear them talk about the losses they've suffered due to an accident, a robbery, a fire, a natural disaster, a divorce, a serious illness, or a job loss; but not many people will even consider the potential loss of their very own soul, which is infinitely more valuable than the entire world.

To gain the whole world would be to gain only worries, cares, anxieties, and perplexities. King Solomon, who was probably the wealthiest person in world history, said that wealth was meaningless or like a bubble that bursts (read the book of Ecclesiastes). Like many wealthy and powerful people throughout history, he discovered that money can't buy you happiness or peace-of-mind. Money can't extend your life or even allow you to live forever. So beyond a certain amount to provide for your and your family's needs, money becomes a burden which you cannot really enjoy. Possessing too much of the world, is like eating too much: a certain amount is useful, but beyond that will only make you fat and unhealthy. Whenever a person possesses more of the world than they can usefully use and appropriate for the good of humanity and the glory of God, they are contributing to their own misery rather than their own happiness.

The world erroneously believes that the way to happiness is though accumulating wealth and possessions; gaining positions, promotions, power, prestige, and privilege; or enjoying popularity and pleasures etc. But Jesus said in the famous biblical passage of John 3:16-17:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 
The world thinks that it doesn't need God or His love; that it's self-sufficient. This world, with it's $200 quadrillion in value, is incapable of solving all the problems we face today: hatred, evil, greed, injustice, crime, murder, mayhem, anarchy, terrorism, war, epidemics, starvation, natural disasters, political upheaval, poverty, sickness, suffering, and death etc. Jesus makes it clear that this world is not the source of our happiness, but rather it can be the source of our very ruin! And quite frankly, this world deserves to be condemned due to all its accumulated sin, evil, and injustice throughout world history. And justice demands the world pay for all its wrongdoing! But Jesus asserts in this passage that He did not come into the world to condemn it, but rather to save it. 

This eternal life that Jesus promised to those who believe in him, who put their complete trust in him, is a free gift from God. Our souls are too expensive for us, or the world for that matter, to purchase or redeem. Only God can afford to redeem our souls. And He did this through the passion, death, and resurrection of His one and only Son Jesus Christ.

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