The Value of a Soul

How do you place value on something? Something of great value might be unique or rare, or it might have some great personal meaning or attachment even though few others might see the sentimental value of that object. What is truly valuable? The problem is that we know the cost of everything, but we understand little of value. As a result, we hold to wasteful things while throwing away those things that mean the most.

In Luke 12:13, a man comes to Jesus, demanding his brother split an inheritance with him. Jesus turns and warns this man of covetous and speaks the parable of the foolish rich man. In this parable, the soul is the focus – that which is of great value – but his emphasis was on his material possessions. He had much, but he lost what was most valuable.

The Value of a Soul

  • There Is Nothing Like It. In Genesis 2:7, God forms man into a living soul. God gave us a part of Himself that He gave no other part of Creation. He made us unique because of our souls, and Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God set eternity in our hearts. Matthew 16:24-26 reminds us of the parable of the rich fool, reminding us that nothing can be traded for one’s soul.
  • Time Invested. II Peter 2:5, Noah is referred to as a preacher. God gave Noah 120 years to tell others of their impending judgment. The time God allowed for Noah to teach others is great by our standards, and II Peter 3:8-9 reminds us that God counts time differently than we do and that He is patient. He is investing time to save souls, and we should do the same.
  • The Price of the Soul. Jesus died to pay for our souls. We are familiar with 3:16 – God gave His Son to die in order to save souls. Could we give up any of our children to save another – even one who despised us? The redemption from Christ did not come cheaply or easily. Our souls’ salvation comes at a price far above anything we could ever pay (Revelation 1:5).

How do we apply this to ourselves? We all put forth an effort to provide for our families, and we occasionally have to make sacrifices to meet those needs. However, how do we provide for our souls and the souls of our families? We need to study together, pray together, and worship together to strengthen and comfort our souls.


Luke 15 contains three parables that illustrate the value of just one soul. These parables are told in the context of Pharisees complaining against Jesus for associating with sinners and social pariahs – individuals the Pharisees may have considered as without value. We learn of a shepherd who seeks out one lost sheep of a hundred, a woman who searches for one piece of silver out of ten, and we read of one son who lives his life wastefully and is restored.

We have a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. In each of these cases, the ones seeking these had others. The shepherd had ninety-nine other sheep. The woman had nine other coins, and the father had one other son who was faithful. Yet each of these individuals rejoices at recovering what was lost. Remember Luke 15:10 – there is joy in Heaven for every individual soul that is recovered. God views our souls as valuable above all else, and we need to develop the same priorities.

lesson By Tim Smelser