Michael Richmond Duru is a Christian, who thinks on Christ's Words and points out how it challenges everyday livinng of the 21st centurians.
What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his very soul? Or what can he give in exchange for his life?
The Soul is the Likeness of God in Us
Let’s take a brief thinking on something called the soul. The soul is the spiritual dimension of being human, in which subsists humanness and which survives the mortition and dormition of the fleshly dimension of being human. From a portion of the Holy Gospel, we hear that at some point, Jesus put a crucial question to his disciples. He asked them: “What can a man give in exchange for his life?” This question is the second part of Matthew 16:26. It is the rephrasing of the more direct question “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” Jesus put these two questions to his disciples in response to the dissuasion from Peter to Jesus himself, asking him not to allow himself be crucified and to die on the cross. Peter assumed that the preservation of materiality was prior and pre-eminent even to the very Messianic immolation of the Christ. Peter was a man of his time! Peter was a man of the world! Peter was like the rest of men.
But the interrogation: ‘how much would you sell your soul’ is also and even more a question for all of us in the 21st century; for all of us in the century of the fourth industrial revolution. How much would you sell your soul is a self-interrogative for everyone who lives in the world today, more than it was for the devout Jew of the pre-Christian, pre-scientific age. We think that such a question has become exigent for a world where Christians prioritize prosperity and profit; where Muslims prioritize power and control; where atheists prioritize success and accomplishments; and where youths prioritize pleasure and fun. It is a question for a world whose standards have become purely and centrally materialistic ascendancy and aggrandizement; therefore, whose tools have become pragmatism and expediency; and whose measures have become sheer utility and material profit. In a world where many do not even realise they have a soul of whom they are also responsible and to whom they have responsibilities, Jesus would ask: how much would be enough to get your to shed and shred your soul, your spirit-man?
Again, whereas our inquiry on the price of the soul is metaphorical and allegorical, it is also true that there are rumours of our brothers and sisters who have or who are willing to sell their souls to the devil or to some systems of power and wealth and influence, in order to obtain an overflowing dosage of wealth and riches, of fame and acclaim, of prominence and popularity, of esteem and exaltation, of luxury and laurels, of name and notoriety, of renown and reputation, of stardom and of standing, Is it true? Is it possible? Can we find anything anywhere around the four corners of the earth for which we can give up our pledge of divinity; or for which we can in our good conscience exchange our share in the likeness of God – our actual soul? Well, let’s assume that this one is a conjecture of the rife industry of conspiracies.
What the Bible says about the Soul
Is there Anything More Valuable than the Soul?
In the midst of this world filled with myriads of material ‘delicacies’, Jesus is asking us to think, search and see if we can find anything more precious than our life. Jesus wants us to examine and see if there is such a thing, so great, so good, so precious, that a person would rather take it, in place of his own life. Note that, when Jesus talk about life here, he is referring to eternal life, to the soul. That is the life of the soul. Our earthly life, the life of the body, is a gift, more precious than gold; yet it is nothing in comparison to our heavenly life, the life of the soul.
So how much can you take and give up your soul? We know that in the world today, there are many who have sold their soul to evil and the father of evil. There are many who have taken money in exchange for their soul. There are those who have exchanged their soul for fame and power, for popularity and prosperity. How much will you sell your own soul? What price or prize would you be given and you would take it in exchange for your soul, your eternal destiny in God? What is it that is more important to you than your earthly life and above all, your heavenly life? How much is your soul? What would you take and forfeit your life?
There is nothing more important than life, than eternal life, than that life which unites us to God. Today we are reminded that: for the sake of eternal life, we should be willing to take up our cross and follow Jesus. For the sake of eternal life, we should be willing to follow Jesus to Jerusalem and to die with him. This is because:, whoever loses his earthly life for the sake of Christ, will surely find it and will gain it. But whoever keeps his earthly life, pricing it above God’s law, and so lose Jesus, will lose everything, at the end.
Michael Richmond Duru
Sunday, 30 August 2020
The Soul is a Citizen of Heaven
© 2022 Michael Richmond Duru