The Veneer of Civilization (Matthew 16:26)

A well-known restaurant chain, renowned for its signature cheesecakes, made the unprecedented and generous move to celebrate its 40th anniversary by giving away free cheesecakes to anyone who ordered through an online delivery service. The result was a flood of online orders that caused a massive traffic jam because of double-parked delivery drivers. One commentator made the sardonic observation, “The veneer of civilization is thin indeed.”


When a coveted product is offered for free, it will undoubtedly generate an enthusiastic response. Witness the long lines of people camping outside department stores two or three days before Black Friday, eager to claim the door prizes or dramatic reductions in prices for merchandise, limited to the first hundred customers. If civilization is defined as mankind’s highest level of social development and organization, our behavior during incidents such as these should give everyone pause. How far would anyone go to get something for free?


For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Matthew 16:26 (ESV)


Everyone has their limit, as the saying goes, but is this really true? The media and movies portray characters who state with aplomb they would rather sell their souls to make something happen in their favor. If one truly understood the ramifications of such a statement, they would never state it, even in jest. If one acknowledges the existence of a soul, what does it mean for one’s eternal destiny? Is death the end of the soul or is there an eternal destiny waiting for everyone? This question must be answered by everyone in their lifetime. If those desires motivate us to trade our eternal souls for the transient gains of this life, what hope do we have?


Jesus Christ has the answer. Only a man who lived a perfect sinless life, died, and was resurrected by the power of God can claim this. If we confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have a true reason for our existence.


The veneer of civilization is thin indeed and can be easily stripped away by our selfish desires. Let your soul find rest in the eternal security of Jesus Christ. He is God.


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.


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