Based on Biblical Text: Mark 8:36 KJV
For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?
Isn’t it interesting that God has provided us with two separate ends. Think about it; on one end we can think; and, on one end, we can sit. I submit that when you sum it all up it appears that the end we actually utilize more frequently will determine how far we go in life. I’ve seen it written somewhere, “Heads, you are a winner and tails, you are a loser!” We must use our thinking end. We must use our minds. We cannot waste our mind.
A fortune is another thing we cannot waste. Think of the person who is blessed enough to inherit or earn a large sum of money in their lifetime, and then squanders it living irresponsibly. That person will miss out on the opportunity to do the greatest good for the Lord. Misappropriation or mismanagement of finances is a great waste.
A good example of a wasted fortune is the story of the Prodigal Son. We find that this son rejected the disciplined life imposed by his father in lieu of his own style of living. As expected, it was not long before his fortune had been wasted and his only choice was to return home or starve. We are cautioned not to waste our fortune.
While it is certainly sad for a person to waste their mind and their fortune, that person will find even more sorrow and more pain if they lose their soul. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
To help us understand, I offer these comparisons. Imagine if you will, a person trading a Rolex watch for a greyhound bus ticket. Or consider the politician who would gain a high position in State or Federal Government by losing his reputation, what would it profit them? What would it profit someone to buy some expensive living room furniture and then lose their house? What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?
We sometimes forgo this to get that, we sacrifice this to gain that because we find life is full of trade-offs. But we must be careful because there are some trades that just don’t make any sense. We must be aware of the permanence of losing our soul. Think about it, a wasted mind can be rehabilitated. The truth is a wasted fortune is not the end of the world. We always have tomorrow to try to earn it again. But when a person loses his soul, there is no recovery. There is no recycling program for wasted souls. Wasted souls cannot be salvaged or repaired. Once a soul is lost, it cannot be recovered. The truth of the matter is a soul ending up in that burning fire in Hell, is destined to remain there throughout eternity. That is an extremely frightening thought! We cannot lose our soul.
Let me digress. What do we mean when we speak of a man’s soul? The fact is that the word soul probably has more definitions than any other word in the dictionary. In scripture, the word soul is used interchangeably with words like life, breath, mind, heart and spirit for example. In our world we know soul food and soul music. We understand the word takes on more meaning. The word soul can actually describe the essence of our cultural inheritance.
The soul is the invisible part of our human make-up that makes us kin to God. The soul is also that intangible aspect of our being that endows us with a free-will, enabling us to choose God’s will for our lives. It is that quality within all of us that gives us the potential to achieve immortality. We are created in the image of God and equipped with immortal souls modeled after His likeness.
In Genesis 2:7 it says, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” In other words we not only have a soul, we are a soul! All that we are, our personality, our purpose, the desires of our heart are embodied in an outer shell called the body. But the body is not man, the soul is man.
So what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? What does it profit us to lose our personality; that which makes us uniquely different from all other men and women? What does it profit a man to gain wealth and fame, power and prestige, if he loses his identity with God in the process? We cannot lose our soul!