What do we count as rubbish?
I have read Philippians 3 my whole life. Sometimes things hit with a different intensity at different times. Philippians 3:8-9 hit me recently. “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.”
Paul goes on to say not having his own righteousness from the law and works, but that which is through faith in Christ.
What does this mean. This verse made me think of Matthew 10:37-39 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”…
Those verses are related. Paul knows that to gain his life he must lose it. Paul knows that the excellence of the treasure that is knowing Christ by faith is worth far more than any person or thing, so much so that everything is rubbish in comparison.
I have heard nice sermons on being good stewards of the things God has given us and while it is true that we do need to be good stewards of those things… too many times it makes us feel good about stuff. Worthless stuff. It makes us feel good about spending time, energy, and money on worthless stuff instead of being good stewards of the mystery of the gospel of the grace of God that was a secret since the world began and was made known through the church (Rom 16:25, Eph 3:19).
The cool thing is that we are urged to pursue reward. Jesus said to store up treasure in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. The Apostle Paul said that if anyone’s work was worthy they would receive reward (1 Cor. 3:14) (if the work is built on the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ). The writer of the book of Hebrews say that without faith it is impossible to please God for they must believe two things: that He (God) is and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. (Heb. 11:6)
So rubbish? What is rubbish and what is not. What aids us in gaining the excellence of the knowledge of Christ. What hinders us? What things will not last forever? What things will? What things can I “take with me” when I die?
I think the above verses help to greatly clarify those questions.