The Rate Of Exchange
Matthew 16:26 teaches us, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
The world teaches this--You can never have too much of a good thing! We must always have enough or we are being somehow cheated of that which we truly deserve.
If one were to ever wonder why we live in such a greedy world, this tenet, no doubt, ought to dispel that amazement. Love may make the world “go round” but it is amassing plenty and having a good time that gives it some speed. And, if you want to stay on for the ride, you need to be able to compete with those who are clinging on with the getting and the enjoying. Dying with the most toys is really what it is all about; isn’t it?
Christopher Winans, in his book, Malcolm Forbes: The Man Who Had Everything, tells of a motorcycle tour that Forbes took through Egypt in 1984 with his Capitalist Tool motorcycle team. After viewing the staggering burial tomb of King Tut, Forbes seemed to be in a reflective mood.
As they were returning to the hotel in a shuttle bus, Forbes turned to one of his associates and asked with all sincerity: “Do you think I’ll be remembered after I die?” Forbes is remembered. He is remembered as the man who coined the phrase, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” That was the wisdom of Malcolm Forbes. In fact, that was his ambition. That’s why he collected scores of motorcycles. That’s why he would pay over a million dollars for a Faberge egg. That’s why he owned castles, hot air balloons and countless other toys that he can no longer access.
The Lord Jesus Christ gave us words of superior wisdom when he said, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). It is a fatally deficient wisdom that declares “He who dies with the most toys wins.”
Dying with the most toys may sound cute. But we need to understand that, as in the case of Forbes, it is something that is achievable. Without a doubt he probably did succeed in achieving his goal. Unfortunately for Forbes, motorcycles, hot air balloons and Fabrege eggs provide little comfort once we leave this spinning globe. It keeps turning without us and our toys are nothing more than forgettable things that eventually spin into oblivion, our name and memory hardly connected with them any more. It would be far more blessed to die with the most debt than the most toys; when that debt was earned doing good things for others. Toys stay here forever, our deeds travel with us.
The Bible contains many references to value of the souls of humankind. Like Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
And 22:37 teaches us , “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
In fact, there are well over 500 sentences in the Word of God that “Soul” is the subject. That is a a lot, isn’t it? That tells us that God is very interested in your soul.
What is the soul? Well, it is the eternal part of each of us. We all have a soul. In fact, it is the everlasting breath that is imparted, or given to us, by our Creator. The soul is as real as your fingers, your heart, your ears. But those things will eventually wither away, but not your soul! Your soul will never cease to exist! Recently, I was watching a documentary about the top 101 inventions of all time. Pretty cool stuff. Human ingenuity is pretty amazing. We’ve figured out how to do all kinds of things.
What are some of the best things human imagination has come up with? I have to tell you, they may not be very glamorous but I’m pretty thankful for the flush toilet and massaging shower head. Both have made my life a lot easier!
What about you? What do you think are some of the top inventions of all time? [wait for several answers.]
In spite of how smart we are, do you know what we haven’t been able to come up with yet? A way to cheat death and live forever. Yet God has said in the scriptures that he has already taken care of that for us. All we have to do is put our faith in Jesus. It doesn’t have to be ’spiritual giant’ sized faith. Simple faith is sufficient. The same kind we put in our light switch or car ignition. We simply trust that it will work.
I guess, in spite of it all and when you get right down to it, we really do still need God for our very most important need.
Perhaps you will object “I have faith in a light switch because from experience I know it works.” You know that now, but you didn’t before the first time you tried it. Perhaps your reluctance about God is that you’ve never truly given him a fair try.
Perhaps you should reconsider. Give God a try—a real, honest try. Lots of us have done that, and we’ve found him to be even more reliable than electricity—especially during a storm.
Jesus asks a very serious question that we all need to seriously consider. He is asking you and me what kind of a bargain is it if we get everything we want here, but lose our eternal lives in the process? He is telling us that we should consider what we are really receiving here for what we are giving up for all of eternity. That is a very important question that needs to be answered.
We must realize two things though:
1. The soul can be lost
2. The world cannot be gained
All of us exchange our souls for something. All of us. Let’s look at the story of Esau in Genesis 25:24-34, “24 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 25 The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau.[d] 26 After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob.[e] Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.
27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. 28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.[f])
31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”
32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”
33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.
So Esau despised his birthright.
Esau thought he would die if he did not eat immediately. We all know he would not have died. He thought he food would satisfy him. It did not. It just touched his hunger! He may have even thought he could reverse the exchange later, but he couldn’t!
Today, we see many people following Esau’s example. They are driven by a desire that cannot be permanently satisfied. They are deserted by satisfactions that are only temporary!
A fly was buzzing along one morning when he saw a lawnmower someone had left out in their front yard. He flew over and sat on the handle, watching the children going down the sidewalk on their way to school.
One little boy tripped on a crack and fell, spilling his lunch on the sidewalk. He picked himself up, put his lunch back in the bag and went on. But he missed a piece of bologna. The fly had not eaten that morning and he sure was hungry. So he flew down and started eating the bologna. In fact he ate so much that he could not fly, so he waddled across the sidewalk, across the lawn, up the wheel of the lawn mower, up the handle, and sat there resting and watching the children.
There was still some bologna laying there on the sidewalk. He was really stuffed, but that baloney sure did look good.
Finally temptation got the best of him and he jumped off the handle of the lawn mower to fly over to the baloney. But alas he was too full to fly and he went splat!!, killing him instantly.
The moral of the story: Don’t fly off the handle when you are full of baloney.
There’s a dark side to us, that’s as reckless as the fly. It does not matter what the costs are, you just got to have it. Humanity is like that, so full of baloney, they can’t see it and they fly off the handle, thinking they can handle it all, and be satisfied only to end up splat.
Many young people today have chosen to follow the cycle of destruction. Trying alcohol, drugs, sex—anything to satisfy their physical drives. When they are deserted by their physical drives, they feel hopeless and defeated.
The adult world is no better. Many people seek fulfillment in material possessions, alcohol, and even social standing, and these things do not solve the deep needs and hungers within them. A poor bargain is a bad bargain whether it is made by teens, or adults.
All is not so bleak though! There is something that is worthy of our absolute best!
Jesus offers a reason to live. He was a revolutionary in the world of His day. He tore down the hypocrisy and deceit of the establishment of that time. He offered a replacement of purity, sincerity, honesty and genuine love.
The younger people today want a better world in which to live must come to Jesus. He provided for a better world through His death on a cross. He is the Prince of Peace and the Supreme example of love, amen?
He offers to all help to make their remaining lives meaningful! Many people complain about the evil conditions that exist in our world today! While they complain about what others do, they sell their own souls for the pottage of the physical world. We have no right to complain if we sell our soul to this world.
The eternal question that Jesus asks each of us in our scripture today is critical to all of us. Esau learned a hard lesson in Genesis 25. What kind of exchange will you make?
God loves you so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die on a cross for your sins. He does not ask that you try to purchase salvation with money, or with works. The purchase of your salvation has already been made. It was paid with the blood of Jesus on the cross.
Knowing that, you have a very simple decision to make. Will you accept this gift? Will you invite Jesus Christ into your heart? By not making a decision, you have decided to not invite Him. Just simply invite him in! He has paid the price. He has settled the cost of your sin up on hat cross. All you need to do is just ask Him in.
As the praise band comes and leads us in our song of invitation……….