It is not safe to base one’s valuation upon surface appearances. When tested by time too many valuations have been proved utterly wrong.
Take an illustration. Voltaire, the brilliant Frenchman of 180 years ago, valued the Bible at less than nothing. He thought he had pretty well demolished it and that if any further blows were needed, his gifted young disciple, La Harpe, would give them. However, La Harpe was seized during the Reign of Terror, flung into prison, and left with death daily before his eyes. During these dreadful days he stumbled across a Bible, and by reading it was converted to God. Somehow the guillotine missed him, and he came out of prison to build up the Christian faith instead of destroying it.
Not long ago, the library of a certain Peer was broken up and sold. Amongst the books were ninety-two volumes of Voltaire’s writings, beautifully bound. They fetched exactly eight shillings—a tiny fraction over one penny a copy!
Quite recently too an ancient copy of the Bible came into the market—the famous “Codex” from Mount Sinai. It was bought for £100,000. Even then it was bought at a bargain price. There is some contrast between the two transactions! Voltaire’s valuation was a bit out.
Each one of us is continually in the position of having to make up our mind as to the value of things.
The world and its pleasures—what are they worth? What is the real value of the fame or money or success so eagerly coveted by many? What is the worth of the soul?
That is the valuation that really matters to you. Take great care to make no mistake in arriving at it. You will do well to bear in mind the great question, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
The One who asked that question did not give the answer. Instead He supplemented it with another question. “Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37). Our Lord Jesus Christ knew the answer right well.
He knew too that sooner or later all must discover that the value of the soul is beyond all computation; that no matter what the soul is bartered for, the net result is an irretrievable loss. It is of all moment that you know the answer, and that knowing it you act accordingly.
That precious soul of yours! Are you selling it to the world, the flesh and the devil for a mere song? What a tragedy! And to think that for your soul Christ has died.
If only you value your soul aright you will learn to form correct estimates of many things. You will see sin in its true light—the sin that blights the soul in this life and damns it in the next. You will see in its true value the precious blood of Christ, shed at Calvary for your redemption.
You will discover in Christ Himself, not merely a historic Personage of a very unusual character, but a Saviour who can deliver you from sin’s condemnation and grip; and a Master who can direct your ways, altogether worthy of your heart’s love and service.
And receiving Him by faith as your Saviour and Lord you will be saved; for it is written, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt he saved” (Rom. 10:9).
The Gospel Messenger, Vol. 55, No. 657