“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?”Mark 8:36-37
I can remember grade school and our teacher asking our class a classic question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. I recall various answers people gave and my best friend stated simply stated that he wanted to be rich. We all looked at him and wished we had answered the same way. Riches in the second grade amounted to a fresh pair of tennis shoes and a full can of soda in your lunch. If you were doing really well, then you would have some change to buy something out of the vending machine. The things that seemed so trivial now were a big deal in those elementary days, and I am sure I will feel the same about things I value now in the future.
I think back to this question and reflect on it based on what I know now. Proverbs 27:24 states, “For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?” We are bombarded in our culture with what success looks like and how we should pursue it. We are told to go to college and find a good job. We are told where we should live and what we should drive to look and be successful. We create Facebook pages to reflect a life we dream of living, but in all reality, we don’t really live. We want to create a mirage of success and wealth, but lose out on what real riches are.
The life we live on earth is quite temporary, described in the Bible as a vapor. Riches are often the same way – here one day and gone the next. The verses in Mark 8 argue that all of the fame and riches of this world do not equate to the value of our eternal destiny. If we gain the whole world, we will have not gained anything if we do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This world will burn up one day along with all its fame and fortune, and so will we if we do not have that personal relationship with Him.
What are you focused on today? Are you focused on riches, popularity or that big promotion? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or do you hope your good works will outweigh your bad? Are you trusting in your good works or in the shed blood of Jesus Christ? Is what you’re seeking out spiritual or temporal? Does what you’re seeking hold any eternal value? Friends, I pray these verses get your focus back on track as we view God’s definition of what success is. How sad it would be to be “successful” in life and spend eternity in hell. May we view this life with eternal eyes, and may we pursue that which pleases Him.