[Papercut Press Publishing] 1999-02-22 - The Value of a Soul

Matthew 16:26, "For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world; and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"

Dr. Chalmers used to teach philosophy at St Andrews University in Scotland. You might know St. Andrews for two reasons. First, much of the movie, Chariots of Fire was filmed there, and second, St. Andrews is meca for all golfers. Many years ago, St. Andrews was also a haven for godly learning and education. Dr. Chalmers was a great leader in the Christian Church there.

On Sunday evenings Dr. Chalmers would gather in his house the poor, uneducated, and vagrant in his area and speak with them. He would especially focus on children when he was able. It is said that he prepared as much for those evening talks as he did for a class he would teach in the university.

It is clear that Dr. Chalmers knew the value of a soul. It is not the wise and intelligent to whom Christ comes, although He comes to them. It is not the privileged and wealthy to whom Christ comes, although He comes to them. It to "whosoever" that Christ comes. Chalmers must have known this.

These were not the common visitors to the home of a distinguished professor. They were probably unbathed. Fellowship with needy and smelly people is an uncommon way to prepare for the upcoming week, but Chalmers understood the value of a soul.

The soul is the most precious thing on earth. The people who Dr. Chalmers gathered into his home were all image bearers of God and Chalmers knew their worth. It probably mattered not to him that small things were missing in his house after the hoard of people had left. What mattered to him was the soul. Do we think this way today? Are souls precious to us? Let us hope so. The soul is precious to God.

What struck me about Dr. Chalmers story was the statement that he prepared as much for his meetings with the poor and uneducated as he did for his meetings at the university. I am prone think that he would have needed to prepare less for these meetings, that it would be somewhat easier, because of all his education, or less important, because the people were "down and outers". And that is precisely where I betray sound thinking and gospel concern for the lost. As my finance' said when I related the practice of Dr. Chalmers to her, "Its kind of like what Jesus did, huh?" Exactly!!

One minister was asked, while on his death bed, "...you know a great deal, tell us what is the greatest of all things." He replied, "It is not theology; it is not controversy: it is to save souls."

Soli Deo Gloria,