For many, it simply wouldn’t add up. They’d do the math, look at the profit and loss statement, and then take a pass on making the trade. But not Paul. He was all in. Convinced of the surpassing worth of losing it all.
If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness, under the law blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
(Philippians 3:4b-8a ESV)
Paul’s profile on LinkedIn would have been pretty impressive. His Facebook page would have been full of “Likes.” Those who followed him on Twitter would have been many. By any measure of those in his community, he had it all. He was on his way to the top.
Loving, devout parents who brought him up in the way he should go, having started him off right by ensuring he was circumcised on the eighth day. A member of God’s chosen earthly people. What’s more, of the tribe of a favored son, the one named “son of my right hand,” one of two boys born to Israel’s beloved Rachel. But while born into privilege, he was also driven to perform–doing all that needed to be done to leverage his advantage for achievement. Zealous for his heritage, customs, and religion, he sought to excel. Rising to elite status. A man of purpose and action, even crusading against that which He thought defamed and denied His God.
Paul had it all. If his biography to that point had been written as an accounting ledger, the assets listed would have been many. The things that had been gain to him would have made most envious.
But then he discovered something far better. Something which made his achievements pale in comparison. So much so, that he willingly transferred his assets into the Loss column.
What is it that causes someone who has it all to let it all go? That compels someone who has climbed their way to the top to be willing to get off the ladder?
It’s the surpassing worth of knowing Christ.
And I wonder, has the familiarity of being a Christian devalued the privilege of being in Christ? If I were to create my own ledger would Christ alone be on the Gain side and everything else under the heading Loss ? If I were to list my assets, would Christ be at the top of the list? If I were to document my priorities would my pursuit of Him be preeminent, directing everything else? If I were to catalog my treasures, would abiding in Him out-value everything else?
As I chew on it, I can’t help but ask myself, do I count everything loss for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord? Or is my relationship with Christ better characterized as supplemental worship. Part of a well-balanced life, with enough of the pie given to seeking the King and His kingdom so that my conscience is eased and my community’s expectations are met?
Chewing on questions more than answers this morning. Noodling on what it means to count all things loss. Meditating on the surpassing worth of knowing Christ.
By His grace. For His glory.