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When I was a child, our family regularly travelled to “the big city” to visit relatives. The signal to me that we were nearing the city (are we there yet??) was a large grain elevator right beside the highway on the outskirts of the city. What’s a grain elevator?  They used to look like this:


On the side of the grain elevator, in huge letters, was written Mark 8:36:


Now I didn’t grow up with any kind of faith practice. I had never read the Bible or even  attended a church. Even so, Mark 8:36 really impacted me and I would think on it often, both when we drove by it and throughout the year.

Now the word soul here doesn’t mean a disembodied ghostly thing that exists beyond your body – what some call an immortal soul. That whole concept is foreign to the Bible. Soul is an old timey way of talking about ourselves – our personhood or being. Even though I had no clue about that as a young person, that’s how I internalized the message: who I am is worth more than the whole world so don’t sell out; don’t compromise the truth of who I am for short term or even large gain. You could say, it’s one of my core values.

But I have to confess, I have sometimes sold out. Seeking for love and belonging in places that never satisfied, holding back from fear, overcome by doubt… I have tried to gain “the world.” This isn’t a woe is me, wallowing in regret kind of post. I’m just being honest. I am happy to report that over time, as I have grown more into myself, I sell out less and less.

Have you ever sold out? Have you ever attempted to gain the world – whatever that means to you – only discover you were losing yourself in the process? How did you correct your course? Have you found yourself selling out less? What’s made the difference in your life?