For what will it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Matthew 16: 26

 

Herein lies what may be the essential question of living out our days in the true economy of this world. We might think that everything here is based upon the income that we receive or the liquid assets that we hold, but that truth provides a relentless set of reminders that this is not actually the case. People everywhere work hard and seek to gain what they need to support themselves and those who depend upon them. This is the reality in wealthy modern countries, and it is still the case among people whose lives have never touched the edges of even the nineteenth century. We all live within the troubled reality of sin’s challenge to the goodness of creation in that our labor will always encounter frustration and be insufficient to fill us up with what we actually require to live fully.

 

People need more than any amount of wealth that we might hold. Even millions of dollars in the bank, an impressive stock portfolio, an extra pig in the pen, or a reliable place to sleep each night will never be enough to satisfy the soul. We are made to be fed from the inside by the presence of God, and no other source of sustenance fills us up and leaves our hearts and minds well fed. Yet, many people travel all the way through life without actually experiencing a satisfying soul-meal. We think that we are getting all that we need while we are actually slowly wasting away from the inside as our hearts are led into the false security of personal success and human accomplishment. This eternal starvation takes place while a banquet feast of overwhelming abundance is set before us to take part in every hour of each day.

 

Christ desires to enter into our lives, and He is prepared to provide the form of sustaining nourishment that every person needs to be fully alive. He has given all in order to be in this place of complete and undeniable availability to us. He is the answer to God’s promise of reconciliation for our rebellious hearts, and Christ is now standing ready with open arms to embrace the lost and starving wanderer as He leads us into God’s special place at the table of blessing. Here, in the presence of the Spirit, we are provided with all that our souls require. We are fed on the inner peace that comes from knowing that our days on earth are meaningful for our Creator’s purposes and that our eternity is securely set in the presence of our loving Father God. We are also strengthened by the truth of God’s Word as He reveals its wisdom to our minds and leads our lives into living out its grace and love. So, there is an answer to the great question of living well in that true economy, and that answer is Christ in whom we gain all that we need in this world and also receive redemption for our souls.

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For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall man give in return for his soul?

Matthew 16: 26

 

Most people are collectors. For many different reasons we are wired to appreciate certain things above many others, and we hold on to these prized items and also to things that relate to them with a tenacity like that of those famous mother bears. We study the object of our passion and know more about it that anyone else, and we are always delighted to share what we know with others, for their lack of knowledge equates to a deficiency in them that needs to be corrected. At least that is what we believe. Some of these collections take up a large amount of space or time, and some of them a minimal or miniature. Yet, they are things that own a place of importance in our lives that is greater than almost anything else. They are frequently the pride of our hearts and the subject that brings out real joy in our expression.

 

Regardless of how much value these collections may have, none of them carry that worth beyond the last breath of our life in this world. They may not even be thought of as valuable or attractive to our heirs, for their sensibilities and needs are guaranteed to be different than were ours. So, these earthly efforts seem to ultimately serve our vanities and little else. Yet, this is not really about collections or even about pride; rather, this is about passion and its focus. God desires to be the recipient of the same sort of passion that we put into collecting those earthly objects, and He wants us to seek Him with the consistency and the drive that we do anything in this world. In fact, there is no good reason for us to not do this, for no one and nothing does for us what Christ does. His presence in us changes this world into one that is infused with the glory of heaven and the wisdom of eternity.

 

This transformed perspective places everything in this world into a new light, and as this happens, Christ reorients our understanding of our relationships to one that sees others with the love of the Creator and that values these people with the eye of the Father. Although living as a true disciple of Christ does begin with acceptance of Him as God and submission to Him a Savior and Lord, it means much more than that, For Christ imparts to His people a new value system that holds righteousness as its only valid means of measure so that it then pours out love, justice, peacemaking, and truth as its currency. Christ’s economy is different from that of this world, and it requires sacrifice on the parts of each of us who would enter into living in the fullness of Christ. Yet, that sacrifice is one that transforms us. It remakes our thinking and the actions of our lives into ones that bring the presence of the holy into the various paths that we travel, and this makes redemption the focus of our lives and the work of our hands.