We’ve all heard the stories by now. The guy who took a 1,300 mile road trip to purchase over 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer for the express purpose of selling it all online at price-gouging prices. The couple who bought out all the meat at a supermarket, running in front of other customers, to hoard it for themselves. Empty shelves in grocery stores where the toilet paper and cleaning supplies used to be. People going crazy to ensure that they have “bread enough and to spare” with no thought for the well-being of others who must now do without. “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there” (James 3:16).
It’s a sad commentary on the human condition. Selfishness and self-absorption reign in many hearts — not all, but many. It is the very thing that Jesus came to save us from.
His thinly veiled warning is uncomprehended: “Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” What kind of doubletalk is that? But then He explains it with a question: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:25-26).
Understand it now? Every human has a soul. It is eternal. Eternal life will be given to every soul “who by patient continuance in doing good seeks for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking…indignation and wrath” (Rom. 2:7-8).
Still don’t get it? Consider this old folk story known as “The Parable of the Spoon.”
One day a man said to God, “God, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.”
God showed the man two doors. Inside the first one, in the middle of the room, was a large round table with a large pot of stew. It smelled delicious and made the man’s mouth water, but the people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful, but because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.
The man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering.
God said, “You have seen Hell.”
Behind the second door, the room appeared exactly the same. There was the large round table with the large pot of wonderful stew that made the man’s mouth water. The people had the same long-handled spoons, but they were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.
The man said, “I don’t understand.”
God smiled. “It is simple,” He said, “Love only requires one skill. These people learned early to feed one another. Those who are hungry are greedy people, and they think only of themselves.”
The coronavirus will not destroy a single soul for eternity, but self-absorption will.
“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death” (1 John 3:14).