The Bible is full of verses that talk about the true nature of profit. It tells us to “store up treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20) and warns “profit without love is vain” (1 Corinthians 13).
We tend to view the word “profit” through a worldly lens, with a temporal understanding of gain. We say things like “you can’t take it with you” and “money doesn’t buy happiness”, but often our behavior makes it seem we don’t really believe this.
It is a deep issue, what we truly believe about “profit.” We all pursue profit. But what is true profit?
The Biblical treatment of profit suggests that true riches are not money or possessions. It is love and wisdom and truth. Not just because they are commanded of us but because they are the most significant benefit to us. Love is sacrificing for others, but it gains us the greatest possible profit. Profit that lasts. Profit that enriches our lives. Gaining wisdom is uncomfortable. It means we have to learn the truth about ourselves we don’t like to admit, and change as a result. There is no greater benefit to our lives than truth and wisdom.
Profit is that which truly benefits us. All we need to do is take a sampling of the world’s biggest bank-account holders to see that income and character do not work hand in hand. Neither do income and relationships or income and peace. Money is no guarantee of true profit or significant benefit. We’d do better to pursue those things that create a true and lasting benefit.
“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?”
– Matthew 16:26