One of the most stirring passages in the Bible is Philippians 3:7-10 –
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
The Apostle Paul starts with this startling statement: “Yet indeed I also count all things loss…” When I read that I think, WOW, how can He do that? I haven’t done that. I can’t do that. But then Paul gives the key, “and count them as rubbish.”
When I eat a banana, I take the peel off, eat the sweet inside and throw the peel away. I don’t put the peel in my pocket or my cupboard or back in the fridge. That would be weird. I throw it away because it’s rubbish. I don’t moan and feel loss for throwing the banana peel away because it’s rubbish and rubbish is good only to throw away. So what Paul is saying is when He considers the beauty and the worth[worth meaning He deserves it as well as it being a worthwhile investment with a great reward] of Jesus all the other things of life – his reputation, his health, his family, his friends, his money, his qualifications – are like rubbish in comparison. It didn’t hurt to lose them. It didn’t hurt to throw them away because in comparison to Jesus they lost their value.
That makes me wonder: Paul, what did you see in Jesus? What kind of Jesus did you see that caused you to hold so lightly to the things of this earth? I want to see that Jesus too. If I could see what Paul saw then I could respond the way Paul responded. Not that the response is the point, the encounter, the high vision, the drawing close to the heart of God is the point.
Paul then concludes this passage with this further startling statement: “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.”
Wowsers! Philippians 3:7-10 is not an exhortation for the spiritually elite, for seasoned apostles and pastors. This is an exhortation for all who would call Christ Lord – to pursue with all my heart, mind, soul and strength the revelation of Jesus as the one who is more valuable than all worldly pleasures, even legitimate ones. That is a high calling and yet that is the calling of the Bible and of our Lord – not to settle for contentment in a bit of church attendance and service and a slightly better moral life. It’s to press into know Jesus and different dimensions of His personality: the fellowship of His suffering, the power of His resurrection, being conformed to His death that eternal life may be resurrected in our souls. It’s a sober yet glorious calling.