For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
In our world today, we see in the headlines much of the news reporting about how billionaires are racking up more wealth than in any other time in history. However, the mainstream media might not say how spiritual and heavenly those same individuals are or how much they have helped the poor and shared their wealth with the most deserving members of society and the less privileged. That will not happen unless, by the grace of God, revival happens and a complete change of mindset in society stops glorifying wealth. Also, it contains putting the ultra-wealthy on a pedestal.
What was Jesus Christ’s opinion towards the rich? What did He think about the wealthy in particular concerning eternity? He posed the question below in the book of Matthew 16: 26
Matthew 16:26 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
The simple answer to Jesus’s question above is; nothing but eternity in Hell. The rich can only gain Hell, unfortunately. Yes, a wealthy man may gain the whole world but remains a loser if he dies as a wealthy person without salvation in Jesus Christ. No one takes anything with them after they die, whether they are rich or poor. No, they all leave everything behind and enter into a dangerous place called Hell, which has no exits, particularly if they died outside of Jesus Christ or if Christ was missing from their lives.
Christ’s question is still relevant, crucial, and current today just as it was when He first asked it during His earthly ministry. In addition, countless people worldwide today, unfortunately, find out daily the reality of His question once they depart from the earth through death and enter into an eternal place of no return called Hell.
Once people enter Hell, they quickly realize that they cannot come out. Hell is an affixed structural place built with no exits and no way out (no doors or windows). Hell has no oxygen or any air in circulation. Lost souls in Hell have no friendships or relationships of any kind but exist in everlasting destruction without end for eternity. (forever).
It is essential to understand Christ’s context in His question and mission, which ought to be considered a priority than the priority given to material wealth.
Remember, Christ created both humanity and material things and knows the order of priority more than anyone else in the world, hence His question.
In the book of John chapter one from verse one, we read that He, Jesus Christ was there before the very beginning, and he created all things and through Him. John 1:1-3, In the beginning, was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was at the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him, nothing was made that was made.
Unfortunately, humanity pursues and invests in material things first while neglecting the soul, which from Christ’s perspective is one of the riskiest decisions. Yet, man does not see it that way because he is earthly. John chapter 4 verse 24 says that God is Spirit, and the true worshippers must worship Him in Spirit and Truth. Man was created in the image of God both spiritually and physically, but he fell from grace spiritually speaking. He was kicked out of the garden of Eden, losing that spiritual aspect of God. However, due to the fall at the garden of Eden, he died spiritually, hence, the coming of Jesus as the Christ to save man from condemnation and restore him spiritually.
Man is in a perpetual state of battle for his soul, but he continues to pursue wealth even though wealth is very temporal and fleeting compared to eternity in Heaven.
Christ came to die for the salvation of humanity, and as Savior, He wants us to understand where the priority lies before everything else. Therefore, priority should be given to the spiritual rather than the physical. In other words, fix the eternal question first before squandering time on earth, chasing and amassing material things while neglecting thy soul such that if death came when one is unprepared, Hell would be the direct point of entry rather than Heaven.
24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the One and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the One and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your Life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not Life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you, by worrying, can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its items. Sufficient for the day is its trouble.
Why has folly consumed humanity so much that they do not seem to ‘see beyond their nose’ spiritually speaking? In other words, why do they become overly blindsided by the distractions of physical materialism and the world around them to the extent that they neglect the most important thing ever, which is the spiritual health of their authentic self (the soul)? Instead, they remain fixated on that which is not only temporary but that which shall be left behind for others to enjoy. Nobody takes anything with them at the point of death, whether they are going to Heaven or Hell; it is impossible, therefore invest in your soul first then your livelihood.
19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 “The time came when the beggar died, and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue because I am in agony in this fire.’
25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between you and us, a great chasm has been set in place so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, Father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
30″ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'”
The story above clearly demonstrates that the rich man ignored the beggar at his gate every day, something God in Heaven also noted. When death came knocking first on Lazarus, the Bible says that God dispatched angels from Heaven to fetch Lazarus and carry him to Heaven to be with Him, but when the rich man died, the Bible says that he was buried. God did not send angels to take him anywhere, but his body was buried in the Cemetary. That in itself shows us how much God values the disparities between the wealthy and the less fortunate members of society.
While in Hell, the rich man looked up and saw Lazarus( the beggar) who used to sit at his gate begging daily, now in Heaven comforted while he was in pain, agony amid some very thirsty and roaring black flames of Hell, tormented day and night by demons and the like. So he sounded the alarm to the heavens and begged for help that at least a drop of water may be allowed to pass through the chasm that separates Heaven and Hell, but the divine declined his pleas.
While on earth, he had neglected his soul for wealth and did not care or bother with those who lacked even the very basic necessities like food and shelter.
He pleaded and asked the heavens to at least send someone to earth to warn his five brothers to repent and stop living a sinful lifestyle of lusts and perversity, luxury, and the pursuit of wealth but find God through salvation. Abraham answered him and said, no, they have Moses and the prophets. In other words, they have the church, the preachers, and the Word of God. The rich man said, well, (“that is not enough, I know my brothers well enough, but you don’t”). perhaps, if someone rose from the dead, they would pay attention and consider how wrong Hell is, and I know they would repent.
Abraham said to him that if they could not listen to Moses and the prophets or believe in the Word of God (the gospel), even if someone rose from the dead, they would not believe him either and would not come to salvation. So, therefore, it’s unfortunate, “but your five brothers might join you in Hell.”
The story above is not only sobering but a reality that happens every second, minute, hour, and day of every month around the year, to countless sinners as they die and enter Hell forever, where they will spend eternity with deep regrets like the rich man.
Therefore, one can only change course while still living on earth and find salvation in Jesus Christ alone as their Lord and Savior and avoid going to Hell at all costs.
Today, we may add that the rich of the world in the 21st century have a window for repentance. Also, Jesus Christ has already risen from the dead and ascended back to Heaven, fulfilling the rich man’s desire to see someone rise from the dead to warn humanity about the reality of Hell.
If the rich and the ultra-wealthy individuals, also known as “the one percent,” continue to ignore that simple gospel message of truth and proceed with the pursuit of wealth and materialism at the expense of salvation and the wellbeing of their soul, unfortunately, once death comes they would join the rich man of Lazarus in Hell.
Why do the rich harden their hearts towards God to the detriment of their own soul?
Jesus answered that question in the book of Matthew 19:16-24
The Rich and the Kingdom of God
16 Just then, a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter Life, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone rich to enter the kingdom of Heaven. 24 Again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man, this is impossible, but all things are possible with God.”
27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
24 Again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Wealth and riches should be used for the service of the gospel of Christ and to serve God by helping the Church advance the gospel worldwide into all corners of the earth by providing adequate resources so that lost souls may be reached with the gospel of Christ.
In the absence of the rich using their material things for the glory of Christ, they will realize after they die that they lived for themselves and their selfish interests rather than for God, hence their destiny to Hell. In other words, they self-condemned themselves by not using their wealth to glorify God and serve Him with their resources.
The answer to that question is no. Not all rich people go to Hell. There are many examples in the Bible of godly rich people who did the Will of God and ended up in Heaven. For example, Joseph of Arimathea was a rich and wealthy man who became a disciple of Jesus Christ and was privileged to be the One to buy the tomb where Jesus Christ was buried after his crucifixion. Joseph used his wealth to do something good and for the glory of God.
Jesus Is Buried
57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 And Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen shroud 60 and laid it in his new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away.
The first-century church sold their possessions for the spread of the gospel and distributed their proceeds to those in need through the Church/Apostles, in case you were wondering if this has ever occurred in the Bible. The Bible says in the book of Acts 4:32-36
The Believers Share Their Possessions
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power, the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. From time to time, those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who needed it.
36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (“son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned, brought the money, and put it at the apostles’ feet.
The end is near, please don’t gamble with your soul and with eternity. Hell is not a pleasant place to go to even for our worst enemies. Heaven on the other hand is where God the creator would like to see all people go after this life comes to an end. Will you consider Jesus today as your Lord and savior and if you happen to be a rich and wealthy person, would you consider living for Jesus Christ, just like Joseph of Arimathea, and reserve a place for youself in heaven than go to hell? here is a prayer of salvation you can say right now to begin that journey towards heaven!
Pray to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior now right below;
Here is a salvation prayer for those who may need to make Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior of their Life right now. Please repeat this prayer;
Dear Lord Jesus, I acknowledge I am sinner, I repent my sins before you today, I ask you to forgive and wash my sins away with your precious blood, please write my name in the book of Life and fill me with your Spirit, I believe I am born again today, in Jesus name I pray and believe, Amen.