On January 8, 2018, an unsettling story appeared in the news. It told of a 17-year-old boy, Xiao Wang, from Chengzhou, China. This young man, unbeknownst to his parents, sold one of his kidneys in order to buy an iPhone 4.
At the time, in 2011, possessing an iPhone 4 was a huge status symbol at his school. But Wang’s family was far too poor to purchase him one. So, with the help of an intermediary, Wang underwent an illegal surgery to remove one of his kidneys. He received a meager $3,200 for the organ—more than enough to buy his iPhone 4. Unfortunately, the incisions from the surgery became infected. Afraid to tell his parents, Xiao Wang, endured the pain without seeking medical help. But the infection spread to his other kidney. By the time he fessed up to his parents and received medical attention, Wang’s remaining kidney was damaged beyond repair. Now, at the age of 25, Wang is permanently disabled and is completely dependent on dialysis.
In 2011 a 16GB iPhone 4 cost $199. Today, a kidney transplant will cost him $260,000–and $17,000 annually for anti-rejection drugs. It was probably the worst decision of his life.
Gain the World at What Cost?
This is a heart-rending story. Yet people are always willing to trade their health and their family relationships for material things. They are exchanging the priceless for the perishable. To gain this world, people will even sacrifice their souls. All things considered, the only thing that any of us will take from this world is our soul. The soul is the immaterial portion of our being, the part of us that will live forever. Our bodies will deteriorate, weaken, and die. Our possessions—if they are not squandered or stolen–will be left to others. The fame we achieve will be forgotten by the next generation. Much of the education we gain will become obsolete within a decade. And our academic degrees will be folded up and stored in a box, if not discarded, when we die. Our everlasting soul will be all of us that survives.
Jesus said that a person’s soul is worth more than all the wealth of this world (Mark 8:36–37). He considered our souls so valuable that He left His throne in heaven, lived a miserable existence down here, and suffered God’s judgments in order to save them (John 3:1–17; 1 Peter 3:18).
Value Before God
Yet that part of us that Christ did so much to save, we neglect, starve, and gladly exchange for things destined to perish. By the time we die our souls are twisted and corrupted beyond any resemblance to the divine image they once bore. They are unfit for heaven and far more suited for hell. But Jesus Christ can change all that. The blood He shed so long ago still has the power to cleanse us (1 John 1:7). His Holy Spirit will give us a new birth and renew us day by day (John 3:3–8; 2 Corinthians 4:16). In fact, if we receive the Lord Jesus into our lives and let Him reign, He’ll do all of this for us. He’ll prepare us for that day when He takes us from this life and ushers us into heaven to be with Him forever (2 Timothy 4:18; Jude 24–25).
Dear Father in heaven, I’ve neglected my soul far too long. Only You can see how wretched and sick I am on the inside. Please, save me, O God. Wash me in the blood of Your holy Son, Jesus Christ. I trust in His sacrifice for my sins and embrace Him as my Lord and Savior. Transform me on the inside, renew me day by day, and make me fit for eternity with You, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.