“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord—for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things and do count them but dung that I may win Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
Never has there been a better, more inequitable, exchange than this one.
The earthly for the Eternal.
That’s the essence of Paul’s testimony in today’s Manna where he talks about “suffering the loss of all things and counting them as loss (Grk. ‘demia’—‘damage, detriment, obsolete, etc.’) or dung (Grk. ‘skubalon’—‘refuse, garbage, scraps for dogs, etc.’) for the excellency of knowing Christ.”
Yet, in his discussion there is no hint of a twinge of regret or remorse. In times past he prided himself on his bloodline, religiosity, zeal, self-righteousness, etc. (vv.4-6). But, after meeting the Risen Lord on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:1-9) everything changed.
His understanding of Who God is and what He desires changed. His view of self and religious service changed. His values and priorities changed. His priorities, purpose and passions changed.
And, what did they change into—or what did he exchange them for?
Quite simply “knowing Him.”
Him. Jesus the Christ. The One Who conquered death and the grave. The One with nail-scars in His Hands Who promised to return one of these days. The indwelling, abiding Lord Who transforms us by His Holy Spirit into “vessels fit for His use” (II Tim. 2:20-21).
Like Jim Elliot, the American missionary-martyr who gave his life while trying to win the Auca Indians in Ecuador, Paul knew “he is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” So true, so true.
Thus, Paul’s “counting all things but loss and table scraps or trash” in exchange for “knowing Christ and His righteousness” was, in reality, as some say “A no-brainer.” Who would not willingly exchange that which ultimately succumbs to “rust, rot and robbers” (Mt. 6:19-21) for that which is “eternal in the heavens” (I Pet. 1:3-4; II Cor. 5:1)? And, who would prefer the accolades and applause of men over hearing the Lord say “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Mt. 25:21, 23)?
Only someone who’s been “blinded by the evil one” (II Cor. 4:4) and prefers the world’s temporal trash to Heaven’s timeless Treasure (II Cor. 4:7).
Dear Pilgrim, what’s your “heart’s treasure” today? Who or what (other than Christ) is so important in your life that you’d be completely devastated and left in utter despair if you lost it? It’s good to “chew the cud” on such questions, for our response to them reveals where our real love lies. May we, like Paul, say “It’s only Christ. It’s only knowing Him.”
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated November 29, 2009