Today’s reading was Mark 8:36-38
36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
I remember hearing a story once about a hobo (is that politically correct? A “housing-challenged gentleman?”) who lived in a small town and panhandled at a busy intersection. The townspeople would amuse themselves, and their out-of-town guests, by going to the man and saying, “Would you like ONE dollar or TWO quarters?” Every time the man would reply, saying, “Well, two is more than one, so two quarters please sir.” The donor would laugh at the old man’s simple-mindedness, and lack of understanding of true value, and hand over the two quarters.
One day one of his old friends visited him, and saw this routine played out in front of him. As the people walked away chuckling to themselves, his friend said, “Bill, what’s that all about? I know you know that a dollar is worth more than two quarters.” Bill looked up with a sly grin and said, “Of course I know. But how long do you think they would keep giving money to me if I took the dollar?”
This amusing story indicates something counter-intuitive – that sometimes less really is more. The man, by refusing the bigger donation, over the course of a week, brought in far more money than he would have done otherwise.
When it comes to our soul, we are in danger of making similar errors. We may think the things of this life, the acquisition of possessions, the chasing of wealth, the search for social status are important and valuable, but if the cost of achieving these things is that we neglect our soul, we have made a very poor transaction.
So, my simple question this morning is this: are you tending to your soul? Are you paying attention to your spiritual health? Or are you so distracted by the pursuit of other things, that may seem more important in the short term, that you are neglecting this most precious entity of your soul?