“What Shall it Profit a Man?” – Forrest Darrell Moyer

Forrest Darrell Moyer

The great Bible question that we study in this article is couched in this language of Jesus:

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 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? (Matt. 16:24-26).

This question, more than any other in all the world, points to the value of the soul of man. It tells us that by leaving out preparation for eternity, all our life’s work would be in vain.

Solomon made inquiry into life to learn “what is good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life” (Eccl. 2:3). Let us observe carefully the result of his research:

First, he looked into wisdom, that is, the wisdom of the world. “And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow” (Eccl. 1:17-18).

Second, he gave himself to enjoy pleasure—worldly pleasure. Upon examining such he concluded, “Behold, this also is vanity” (Eccl. 2:1).

Then, Solomon delved into the matter of riches, and his conclusion was the same: “This is vanity, and it is an evil disease” (Eccl. 6:2). Although a person may gain worldly wisdom, worldly pleasures, and riches, he is still sadly lacking in the most important thing in the world—making preparation for the eternity on the other side of time!

Let us hear Solomon’s conclusion in answer to the inquiry, “What is good for the sons of men to do all the days of their life?”:

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil (Eccl. 12:13-14).

Here is the answer: It would be of no profit or value whatsoever if we should gain all the world has to offer and then lose the only soul that we have! Accumulate, if you will, all the wealth that the world holds. Add to that all the wisdom that earth has to offer. Multiply that by popularity in the eyes of men. Cap it all off by the pleasures of the world. Yet all of these are not so great as one single soul! Your soul! Picture in your mind a great pair of balances. On one side put one single soul—your soul. On the other side put all the world can offer. Now which is greater? God says your soul is!

How vain indeed it would be, then, to neglect your soul! God didn’t give it to you to waste in material possessions or worldly pleasures. He gave it to you to use now and always in the greatest of all works—living a Christian life with reverence and godly fear. In Luke 12 Jesus tells us of a man whose ground brought forth plenty. He tore down his barns to build greater. He said to himself: “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” Here was a man who prepared only for this present life and neglected the greatest thing he had—his soul. And God spoke to him in heart-breaking language: “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?”

This great question, “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” is answered all too plainly in Holy Writ for me to neglect preparation for judgment. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” Be saved now in God’s own appointed way, and then in His own appointed time He shall come to receive you into glory. Prepare now for the judgment and for all eternity.

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Author: Editor

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