Ask yourself: How is it with your soul?


By Rev. Glenn Martin
Guest Columnist

While visiting patients who are diagnosed as terminally ill and receiving hospice care, I often ask, “How is it with your soul?”  With some, it is an unnecessary question. With others, it is the best way to get to the heart of a spiritual diagnosis. I have yet to have a serious negative response when asking in an appropriate time and manner.

John said to Gaius in addressing his third letter, “I know that it is well with your soul.” (III John 1:2) Most of the things we talk about, even with the terminally ill, are earthy: weather, health, sports, war, government, etc. Thus we neglect the one thing that matters most.

If the soul is what matters most in the long run, “How is it with your soul?” may well be the most deeply felt silent cry of human beings everywhere. First, it is a question of the spirit. It cuts through the trivia of life and the limits of time and place. It goes beyond church membership or “Have you been baptized?” It transcends moral evaluations of our past and religious behavior.

Reference to the soul brings the eternal to confront the temporal. It cries out for repentance and forgiveness, for cleansing and wholeness. It recognizes the brevity of time and life here when measured against the eternity of the soul. Reference to the soul raises the question of where we will spend eternity and how we get there.

I have baptized two elderly men on their death beds who had never claimed Jesus Christ as savior and lord. We should never give up on people whether they are young lambs or old goats, lest we miss the opportunity to help someone find the one who can change the destiny of his/her soul.

Christian life is best lived out from a definite decision and commitment at a young age, but that’s not the only way to get to heaven, especially for those who can see the alternatives more clearly now.

The Bible tells of a destiny for every soul; one good, one bad. Whatever it takes, we should be preparing souls for a forever future.

“What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul, or what shall he give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26) “Incline your ear to me, come to me; hear, that your soul may live.” (Isaiah 55:3a)

How is it with your soul?

Martin is a retired clergy member of the Mississippi Conference and a regular contributor to the Advocate.