26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
For anyone who understands balance sheets, or who knows the difference between a profit and a loss, this is a great question. It is a very straight forward a question. We need to apply ourselves to what God is asking.
Jesus frequently describes the Kingdom of Heaven in terms of treasure, essentially saying that it is a good buy, no matter what you paid for it. This is a stock that you ought to own. It would be worth it to sell all the other assets in your portfolio to own this one stock.
What is the point of gaining all the money in the world if you are not around to spend it?
This question forces us to think about eternity and the end of our short life. Does it count for anything? Jesus is addressing His disciples espousing a general principle with universal applications.
25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
He is talking about the psyche here, and not just the physical body. Losing one's life is not about just dying physically, but losing the type of life that is completely involved with just the 'self'. If we determine to give ourselves to getting the most out of life for ourselves, we exist, but we lose our life. This is not a threat against the selfish person describing a punishment, but merely pointing out what happens when someone lives their life selfishly. Pleasure is like drinking saltwater, the more you drink, the more thirsty you get. What possible advantage could their be to gaining the whole world, and losing your soul.
Pascal, the french philosopher and mathemetician, identified the fact that the reason for our existance was for a living relationship with the Living God. He came up with the idea of a "God shaped hole" in our heart. There is nothing in this world that can fill up that gap. By changing our perspective to an eternal one, we can identify the real problem. Our hearts are cold toward God, and we prefer to save our own souls by pursuing the world than to forsake what we desire most and pursue Christ.
There is an answer to the question of the value of your soul. The value of your soul is seen in a scene on a hill outside of Jerusalem. It is seen in a man hanging on a cross between two other men. He cries out as He gives himself for the souls of men and women. He was pierced, despised and scorned so that what we deserve we do not receive. Just as He gave all to pay for us, in order for us to be His disciples, it will cost us everything. We have to follow Him, and deny ourselves. We need to get off the throne of our own lives. He rightfully has that position. When we put Him in his rightful place, only then will we discover life.
These are my notes from a seven part podcast from Alistair Begg www.truthforlife.org