Jesus had the uncanny ability to cut to the core of truth with a simple, short statement. Those brief sayings seem really obvious at first glance, but upon reflection become deep and either soberingly frightful or incredibly hopeful. Jesus made such a statement while trying to help his disciples understand what the end of his life was going to be like. Jesus said, “And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process?” (Mark 8:36, New Living Translation) There are two parts of us that are alive, our physical bodies and our souls. Jesus is saying that there are things we can chase in our life that won’t harm our physical bodies, but will cause our souls to begin to fade and wither. There are decisions I can make that will make me less sensitive to beauty. There are pursuits in life that will cause me to hunger less for justice. I can live life in such a way that I forget about the people around me who are in pain. It’s possible to be fully alive on the outside and empty and dead on the inside. Jesus was telling his disciples that avoiding his upcoming death at the hands on unjust men would keep him alive physically, but it would cause him somehow to die inside, and that wasn’t a trade he was willing to make.
His statement created a lot of questions for me, maybe they are questions that will help you on your journey as well:
Are there things that I watch with my eyes that make me less aware of true beauty when it comes along?
Does the pace of my life make it hard for me to be heartbroken for those who are suffering around me?
Am I more focused on my physical life than the life of my soul?