What good is it for a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul. Mark 8:36
We live in a world where everything is valued according to the amount of profit it generates. When a business or a piece of real estate is to be sold, the first question that the buyer will ask is how much profit does this entity generate every year? The same is true of an employee who is being evaluated for a promotion, a raise, or a bonus; the most important consideration will be how much profit that individual has generated for the company? The situation was probably not that much different in the society where Jesus lived. Jesus Himself in a parable commended the servant who brought in the highest profit – Matthew 25:21. Yet for Jesus, the soul of a single person was more valuable than the material wealth of the entire world.
It is clear in the Gospels that Jesus had a lot of sympathy for the poor. Proclaiming the good news to the poor seemed to be a very important part of His mission. Jesus had a lot of sympathy for the widow who gave her last few coins to the temple treasury. He felt that she did better than the rich people who made much larger gifts. Jesus clearly felt that the rich will have a harder time to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
What Jesus is trying to tell us in Mark 8:36 is that it is futile to pursue material wealth because even if we gain the wealth of the entire world we will not experience true happiness if we have lost our spiritual and moral values. Is it possible for a man to gain the whole world (figuratively speaking) and not lose his soul? I believe that all depends on how that person treats his fellow men. If someone is using his wealth and power to abuse others and accumulate even more wealth, then that person has surely lost his soul. However, if that rich person is using his justly acquired wealth to improve the lives of his fellow men then in my mind that person has not forfeited his soul.
The advice that Jesus gave to the rich man who wanted to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and have eternal life was to go and sell his possessions and share his wealth with the poor and needy.
For 100 years the Armenian Missionary Association of America has been reaching out to the poor and needy in 24 countries around the world including the Armenian Motherland and the Diaspora. For 100 years the AMAA has been spreading the Good News of the Gospel so that people will come to know the Savior who is the resurrection and the life. For 100 years the AMAA has been bringing the children to Jesus, in Sunday schools, full-time schools, summer camps or day camps, after school day centers and other community activities. All of this, however, would not have been possible without the generosity and giving spirit of our donors, big and small, throughout the past century. We are at the threshold of a new century, we have established a Centennial Campaign that will propel us into the new century with great momentum so that we can continue the good work that was initiated by the previous generations. Will you join us?
Nazareth E. Darakjian, M.D.
President, AMAA Board of Directors