What is the ‘VALUE’ we can PLACE on a HUMAN SOUL?
October 13 Bible Reading: Matthew Chapters 16-18
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:24-26)
In a chapel in Southern France, the great emperor Charlemagne lays buried in an unusual way. He is seated in a marble chair, wrapped in his emperor robes, and in his lap is a copy of the New Testament with his finger pointing to the following verse: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” Certainly this mighty emperor has realized the futility of amassing all the wealth and power that this world can offer at the cost of allowing the soul to perish for eternity. Jesus has placed high value for a human soul when he exhorted His disciples to "fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt. 10:28).
God’s Word teaches us that every human being consists of three parts: body, soul, and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23). Our body (“outer man”) decays with every passing day, while our soul (“inner man”) can be renewed every day with God’s help (2 Cor. 4:16-18). The life of our soul is our spirit. In fact, one day while our earthly body (“this tent”) will be put down and folded up (2 Cor. 5:1-4; 2 Pet. 1:13-14), our soul will be released from its outer covering, and will live forever (2 Cor. 5:6-8; Phil. 1:23; 1 Pet. 4:6). The place that our soul will take its permanent residence will be either in heaven or hell, after every person appears before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). The only chance that we get to decide where we spend our eternity will be while we live upon this earth!
God has placed a tremendous value to a human soul, which is evident from the two questions that Jesus asked His disciples: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” So, why is a human soul so valuable? Possible answers may include the following: it is the most precious creation of God, who made it in His own image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-27); it is meant to live forever – either with God in His heavenly abode or, apart from God in hell in an everlasting condemnation; and God had to pay an enormous price to redeem the human soul, which was the blood (life) of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:18-19). So, the heart desire of God is that none should perish but everyone should have eternal life (John 3:16-17). This is what Jesus has said: "Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish" (Matt. 18:14).
Knowing that every human soul is so precious and valuable, what should we do as a disciple of Jesus Christ? Jesus tells us that we should ‘crucify ourselves’ by denying ourselves from all the attractions that his world has to offer us, bear our own cross of ministerial responsibility, and follow the path that Jesus has trail blazed before us. We should totally yield ourselves for Jesus to control us completely. To take up our cross means that we should be willing to endure shame, suffering, and perhaps martyrdom for the sake of Christ, while we die to sin, to self, and to the world. To follow Jesus means to live as He lived with all that involves of humility, poverty, compassion, love, grace, and every other godly virtue.
Through His call to discipleship, Jesus demands that we completely abandon our natural desire to seek comfort, fame, or power, and renounce any self-centered ambitions. We obey and identify with Jesus even unto death as we put the interests of the God’s kingdom first and foremost in our life. Such sacrifice will reward us with an abundant life now (John 10:10) and an eternal life in the future. Let us deny ourselves to the attractions that the world offers us every day, and totally surrender to God’s plans in our life. Let us be loyal to God, and forsake any ambition that compromises our commitment to God.
The worth of a human soul can be estimated only by the light reflected from the cross of Calvary. It was the joy set before Christ in accomplishing so great salvation that led him to submit to shame, agony, and death. All the treasures and the glories of this earth will sink into insignificance when compared with the value of a human soul. Knowing the high value of a human soul, let us not shed our responsibilities to reach others with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the least that we can do in return to our Lord Jesus Christ who has given His all for us.