We value things like our health, our jobs, our friends and families, but, when we experience something that shakes our foundation, sometimes circumstances force us to step back and look at what matters beyond the things of this life. While jobs, relationships, and even health are important in life, it is not these things God values the most. For a snapshot of what God views as important, look no further than Luke 12:13 where one comes to Jesus, demanding that his brother rightfully split their inheritance. Jesus responds by telling a parable of one who laid his trust in the things of this world while making no provisions for his soul. In verse 21, Jesus admonishes that people should strive to be rich toward God.
What God treasures the most for and about us is our souls. In the parable, the wealthy man seems to think he has provided for his soul by amassing sustenance for many years, but God then uses that same term to demonstrate his spiritual unhealthiness. While this man had provided for himself for a time, only God can make provisions for eternity.
The Worth of a Soul
Why does God place so much emphasis on our souls? For one thing, it is something singularly unique. We can change jobs; relationships come and go; health fluctuates; but we only get one soul, and no one else can affect our souls. He has invested a great deal in providing for and saving our souls, and God has paid an incredible price for our souls. When it came to our creation, God granted us a part of Him, making us in His image, giving us eternal souls. In Matthew 16:24, Jesus is speaking to the worth of our souls, and verses 26-27 asks what could possibly be more valuable than our souls. We are quick to chastise Esau for selling out his physical birthright, but are we any better when we sell out our spiritual birthright for the things of this world? We have, within us, a part of God that He values immensely. We should value it as much.
God is patient regarding our souls. In II Peter 2:5, Peter calls Noah a preacher of righteousness, and that is exactly what he was during the century in which he built the ark. II Peter 3:8, then, reminds us that God counts time differently than us, that He is patient, waiting for all to come to repentance. In the days of Noah, God waited 120 years for a small number to respond to His salvation. Every soul that is saved matters greatly to our God.
This soul salvation comes at a great price. John 3:16 beautifully sums up the love it took for God to provide for the saving of our souls. Romans 3:23 reminds us that we have all hurt our souls with sin, but the following verses assure that Christ took those injuries for our sake, rising up as a propitiation for our sins. The beginning of Romans 5 tells us we can, in no way, be worthy of that sacrifice, but God’s great love provided it anyway. What does it take to save our souls? It takes the ultimate sacrifice of one spotless and pure from sin.
The Value of One
In Luke 15, Jesus tells three parables in a row, each illustrating the value God places in saving one soul. Likewise, do we value the souls of those we know and love? Are we making sure we are providing for their eternal needs while we strive to provide for the physical? Are we teaching what is truly valuable to God?
Isaiah 52, one of the four servant psalms written by this prophet, records God calling on His people to come out of sin, looking to that suffering servant for guidance and salvation. Rather than looking to ourselves, our relationships, our health, and our possessions in measuring our fulfillment in this life, we should be looking to the needs of our souls. Only in God can we find provision for our eternal needs and rely on Him to save our souls where we cannot.
lesson by Tim Smelser