To gain the whole world and lose your soul[1]   Leave a comment

Matthew:16-26

Matthew 16:24-26

If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?[Is anything worth more than your soul?” Mat. 16:24-26

When I was a high school student, I was anxious about my future. My future career and studies were at the center of my attention. The verse in Mat. 16:24 struck me and led me to question “Am I focused on the right thing?”

When I completed my tertiary studies, I succeeded to get the job I hoped for. I eventually got married to a faithful woman and became the father of a wonderful girl. By God’s grace, we succeeded to build a house as we wanted it to be. I was promoted and the next thing that came to my mind was “When will be the next promotion?”. I then knocked with another question “So here we are, what next?” Does that sound familiar?

All these things I have been able to achieve either no longer satisfy me or I am tempted to think how I can reach the next level. However, I know deep down in my heart that even if I get the next promotion, get a new car, embellish my house or get the whole world, it will never be enough. We often try to persuade ourselves if we had a little more money we will be happier.  The truth is that even if this “little more money” is granted to us, one day we will seek for “a little more money”. Possession can never satisfy the soul of man and its an endless road to reach happiness.  The leadership of big companies have been trained to retain their employees. The strategy is simple: Build their ego. When a high performing employee gives sign of leaving, immediate actions are taken to promise that the next promotion is his or new opportunities lie ahead. The leadership knows that employees dislike the idea that they can be bought with money so they find ways to delegate authority and build their pride. With a higher position achieved, the employee indirectly benefit with an increase in salary and becomes more entangled to “the things of this world”. The mentality of the employee changes, he becomes less focused on people and more on business. The first to suffer of this shift is his soul, his family, friends and colleagues. The soul of this person no longer finds time to rest in God’s presence. When that person becomes too absorbed in his work, joy and love diminish within the couple. There is less communication, more conflicts and solitude. The soul starts to get desperate, depressed and anguished. When loving relationship with God and people have been exchanged for the things of this world, it is hard to recondition oneself to focus on relationships. I know such a man who sacrificed what was more valuable to him – His soul, wife and children for his career. He ended up in a divorce, retired prematurely because of depression and sold all his belongings worth millions to live far away from his previous life. I never met such a businessmen who visited so many countries on duty. He is such a rich but miserable man. I do not want this to happen to me.

Jesus asked the question:

Is anything worth more than your soul?

The sad truth is that many believe that possession is worth more than the well being of their soul. Jesus addressed this belief and considered it foolish to have such an attitude. He said:

A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” Luke 12:16-21

Wisdom says:

Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what good is wealth—except perhaps to watch it slip through your fingers!” Ecc. 5:10

The soul is in essence the life, existence, emotion, vitality of a person. In other words if we want to know how healthy our soul is, let us ask ourselves these questions: What am I doing with my life and existence? Am I spending my life and existence to build lifeless things that will cease to exist? What am I doing with my emotions and vitality? Am I suppressing them for the things of this world?

We will remain insatiable with what the world can offer us. Only Jesus can satisfy our soul. Jesus knew our inclination to the things of this world and this is why He taught about the danger of loving worldly things. Jesus’ cure was simple : “Turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me“. Jesus wanted to spare man this trouble of being anxious but many refuse to come to Him. Only Him can provide rest for man’s soul.

Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Mat. 12:28

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Posted February 19, 2016 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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