“My mom taught us as a Christian, your character, your integrity and how you honor God were so much more important than your job title,” shared coaching great Tony Dungy in his acceptance speech at Saturday’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction ceremony.
Dungy is a class act. He lives in the North Tampa area close to where I preached for nine years. Over time I heard several stories from members who met Tony or happened to see him grocery shopping in Publix. He was always kind, cordial and thoughtful. I had one occasion to meet him at a leadership dinner sponsored by Florida College. He graciously signed an autographed program and took the time to engage in conversion.
So, I was especially interested in what he had to say at his Induction ceremony. While expressing appreciation to the NFL for providing for his life’s work, he emphasized that “there is more to life than football.”
Coach Dungy recalled his mother’s favorite Bible verse that she taught him as a child–Matthew 16:26: ‘What would it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul.” Then Tony added, “And I know that she’s happy to know that her son never forgot that verse.”
Regardless of our station in life or financial success, it is important to remember that there some things are more valuable than material possessions, professional achievement or personal recognition.
The context of this great verse speaks to our commitment to Christ. Self denial. Self-discipline. Dedication to disciplship. And loyalty to the Lord.
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt 16:24-26)
Jesus’ call to follow Him also emphasized the value of the soul over everything physical and material. How much is your soul worth?
When it comes to selling something material, like a house or car, it is said value is determined by how much someone is willing to pay. Realtors always say that the current market drives the listing price on a house.
There are some things, while not monetarily valuable, possess emotional and sentimental value. Family pictures and scrapbooks will hold a special meaning to a mother, but would not get a single buyer on Craigs List.
What’s the value of honor? Honesty? Integrity? And virtue? They cannot be bought. No price tag can accurately reflect their value. The same is true of faith, hope and love. And it’s true of the soul. A single soul is worth more than the combined wealth of the whole world.
You can be financially impoverished, yet be rich in faith. You can experience rejection, but receive the riches of redemption. You can live in poor surroundings, while living an abundant life. You can be hindered by an inadequate secular education , yet be affluent in spiritual wisdom and knowledge. You can suffer from ill-health, but enjoy wellness of the soul. And you can suffer torment temporarily on earth, but die and enjoy the happiness of heaven for eternity.
While the world cries for us to sell our soul for passing pleasures, the Believer confidently, courageously and correctly says, “My soul is not for sale.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman