"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” – Jesus
Just the other night, as I watched a little sports news, I sat in credulous amazement at a press conference held by Floyd Mayweather and Connor McGregor in front of 18,000 people in Brooklyn. I don’t know what baffled me more – that two wildly rich guys acted like adolescent goofs or that 18,000 people took the time to watch them. The display was one for the ages, no doubt, but also one that provides a stark example of how much people are willing to sacrifice in order to gain so little.
Not only in sports do we see unheard of amounts of so-called fame and fortune being used to snare people in the trap of soul selling, we see the same thing happening in Hollywood, on Wall Street, in Washington DC and in the mainstream media. I’d say we might also find the lure of more money creating dysfunction on most main streets in this country. We all want more money I’m guessing, but at what point does the answer to Jesus’ question begin to register? How much is too much of anything and when do we recognize how close we are to the dangerous edge of forfeiting our soul in the pursuit?
Mayweather and McGregor, by the very nature of their words and behavior, reveal what happens when the care for what should matter in this life is overwhelmed by a burning desire for that which doesn’t. When a man chooses to wear a suit with a visible expletive sown into the pinstripes, his answer to Jesus’ question becomes rather evident. And when money is thrown around a stage much like drunken patrons throw money around in a house of ill-repute and 18,000 people cheer for both, society has sold its collective soul for nothing more than a cheap, sick thrill.
Whether it’s because I’m getting older and reaching a new phase in my life or that I have the future of a 13 year old to consider, finding a stronger desire to do something about a wayward society is becoming more urgent. I don’t want the sad, ridiculous spectacle of two guys showing us what it looks like to trade an eternity of peace and joy for frenzied attention and a bulging bank account to permeate any part of small town America, of Waxahachie. I just don’t.
Most everywhere we turn these days, whether TV, the internet or even the wrong street sometimes, we find a tattered, broken culture that hasn’t a clue it is either. Much like Sodom and Gomorrah, American culture is drowning in a sea of despair without any awareness of just how close demise lurks. The fix that is money and fame, power and pleasure and the deepening urge for achieving a secular, false kind of greatness is severing lifelines to a loving God and chances of hope for millions.
If there was ever a time for the collective role of churches to be that force which resuscitates a dying society, it is now. If there was ever a time when a business should be bold in its willingness to be known for its faith, it is now. If there was ever a time when children should turn toward a warm and peaceful refuge they call home rather than unabated evil waiting to pounce through the screen of destructive apps and life sucking online addictions, it is now. And, if there was ever a time when the bait of entertainment like what Mayweather and McGregor, along with the hordes of Hollywood trash, offer is soundly rejected by more and more of us, it is now.
I don’t think Jesus looks upon society today and shakes His head at what He sees as a crowded market of soul selling and sorrow. I think Jesus looks upon those He expects to stand strong and bold to actually become stronger and bolder in seeking the lost and telling them of Him, His saving grace and His undying love. Until that happens, Mayweather and MacGregor will continue showing the rest of us what gaining the world in exchange for the soul looks like.
And, if there was ever a time for such a show to end, it is now.