The Soul Exchange

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37)

The lives of many people revolve almost completely around the stock exchange, and they never stop to realize that it easily may become a soul exchange, where they exchange their very souls for the imagined blessings of the great god Mammon. “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).

Similarly, many are greatly exercised about their monthly profit-and-loss statements. But the Lord Jesus asks whether there is really a profit, even if one acquires the wealth of the whole world at the cost of his soul, and the answer to such a rhetorical question has to be: “No!” For “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:17).

Furthermore, the words “life” in verse 35 and “soul” in our text are actually the same word (psuche) in the Greek original. That is, to lose one’s soul is to lose one’s very life, for they are inseparable. A life centered around money is not only a soul lost but a life wasted as well. On the other hand, if we lose our lives in Christ, then we find true life, eternal life, beginning here and now, and continuing forever. This is a good exchange!

God may well bless a Christian with material wealth, but this should not be his motivation. “Charge them that are rich in this world,” Paul says, “that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate [i.e., share]; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19). HMM

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