The Trade

It has been noted that the right question at the right time often encourages forward progress. Some have inquired about life insurance or retirement, while others inquire about future careers or business endeavors, all of which promote action and planning. The “question” makes us think. It has the power to direct and define. When motives are never questioned, results are often unsavory.

Jesus asked a few questions which shines light on the most important priority of all. He asked: Mat 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

The value of the soul is the primary. Jesus was not making some rhetorical statement here. This was and is a real life trade. People actually have traded their eternal soul for temporary pleasures. Some have retained bitterness, grudges, old hurts, and unforgiveness at the cost of their never-dying soul. In the parable, the prodigal son gave away his inheritance for a few moments of fleshy satisfaction. Esau traded his birthright for food. Judas traded himself to prove himself important.

From my many years of ministry, I can tell you that the “trade” doesn’t start with some major thing. In fact, it is the small, incremental steps which lead us away from the truth and into the shadows of worldliness. Holiness standards were meant to promote modesty and distinction. Yet, seemingly minimal movements lead to total abandonment of what was once embraced. I grieve to see the state of the backslider. The exchange has stripped them of the things they once loved.

At some point all of us must look at the end result and say, “It’s not worth it.” We need to look at careers, conversations, and relationships which lead us away from the church and say, “It’s not worth it.” We must answer the question that Jesus asked: “what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Here is the answer: Nothing!

Paul posed this question and gave the answer:

Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Rom 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole