(Mark 8:36-38) 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? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
Jesus was careful to warn us about getting too wrapped up in the world. Here in Mark 8, Jesus drives this point home by saying, “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?”
Many times, we find ourselves getting so wrapped up in trying to attain this world’s goods. So, I think it is good for us from time to time to be reminded what Jesus thought on this subject. We know that nothing is more important in life than making sure our soul is eternally secure. The soul is the part of us that will live forever and we all want to make it to heaven when our life on earth is complete. The danger in spending so much time working for material possessions is that it takes away from the time we should be spending preparing our soul for the future.
Jesus illustrates this best in Luke 16 when he tells his disciples about the rich man and Lazarus. Some think this is a parable, but I don’t accept that argument. Jesus never used real men’s names in parables and here he talks about the beggar named Lazarus and Abraham is also mentioned in this story. We all know the story well how that the rich man lived sumptuously every day having everything while the beggar, Lazarus, sit begging for the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. They both die and Lazarus is carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom while the rich man lifted up his eyes in hell being in torment. Now the roles have been reversed. The rich man is now begging for Lazarus to place a drop of water on his tongue. The Primitive sing a song that says “who is the rich man now”. I love that song because it demonstrates the fact that no matter how much you might have in this life, the only thing that will matter in the end is where your soul will spend eternity.
So, I beseech you (earnestly beg you) to not get so wrapped up in this world to where you neglect the things of God. (Matthew 6:20-21) But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
One last point this morning. If you’ll look back at our text verses in Mark 8, you’ll notice that Jesus follows this up in the same conversation with “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels”.
I think it is interesting that Jesus would bring this up in the same context as he was speaking about a man gaining the whole world and losing his own soul. Then I got to thinking that when a person gets so wrapped up in the world’s system trying to gain everything it has to offer, there will be times when you will have to speak up for Jesus or deny him.
When the subject of Jesus is brought up in the professional business world a person either has to take a stand for Jesus or leave his name out of the conversation. I have seen this in my own profession over the years. When meetings are opened with a prayer, I’ve witnessed that the name of Jesus was intentionally left out of the prayer because it might offend someone that is of another religion. When they would finish their spiritual mumbo jumbo, I would look around at the people sitting at my table and ask them if that was really a prayer since there was not any mention of Jesus. So, the deeper you get yourself involved in the world’s business the more it will be asked of you to just leave Jesus out of everything so as to not offend someone.
If you have watched any of the Democratic National Convention this week, you should have noticed that in the committee meetings the phrase “under God” was omitted from the pledge of allegiance to the flag. This is just another attempt of taking God out of the public discourse.
We are living in a secular world and it is going to get harder and harder to take a stand for Jesus, but always remember that Jesus said if you are ashamed of him before men that he will be ashamed of you before his Father. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Jesus to be ashamed of me.