READ : Matthew 16:24–28
What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? (v. 26)
There is a devastatingly beautiful scene at the end of the movie Schindler’s List when Oskar Schindler is racked with guilt for not saving more Jews during the Holocaust. He looks at his wristwatch, ring, and stickpin and wonders why he kept them, since he could have sold them and bought more people their freedom.
In that moment, Schindler realized that possessions have no value compared to life. There is no way to put a dollar value on life. Similarly, Jesus warns that the pursuit of wealth is useless if you lose your soul in the process. I find it fascinating that Jesus used a financial word here: “profit.” There is no profit in gaining the world and losing God. Even The Beatles understood that, writing these words in one of their final songs, “Last night the wife said, ‘Poor boy, when you’re dead, you don’t take nothing with you but your soul—think!”
I’ve heard that after John D. Rockefeller (one of the richest men of his time) died, a reporter asked his accountant how much John D. had left behind. “All of it,” the accountant answered.
I met a couple once who had given away 80 percent of their income the year before. (The IRS caps tax deductions at 50 percent.) When asked why they gave so much, they simply said, “Matthew 16:26.”
Lord, grant us your perspective on what’s truly valuable.