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 Philippians 3:7-8
Since we bring nothing into the world when we enter it and we can take nothing out with us when we leave it, how is it possible to gain or lose anything while we are here? Gains and losses are a major part of life — almost everything in the world can be measured in one way or another. Some people are said to be “born with a silver spoon in their mouth” while others are born into an existence that does not even include a wooden spoon! Thus begins a life-long measurement of one’s wealth and with it, one of the world’s measurements of success. But is wealth actually an indication of success? In eternity, what will the wealthy person have gained compared to others? And so it goes with anything and everything that can be measured in this life as a gain or loss, including time itself — you can’t store it up and take it with you when you go!
The Apostle Paul was one of those who “had it made” so to speak. He was born in the city of Tarsus as a Roman citizen and was well educated. Not only was he advantageously situated socially and academically, he also achieved a place within his Jewish faith that was very exclusive and very devout; he became a Pharisee. On top of that, he worked tirelessly to rid the world of Christians because of his religious zeal. When it came to the Law of Moses, he literally considered himself to be blameless! As far as the world is concerned, Paul had it all. That’s the way it seemed to him and to those who knew him. Then, one day, he met Jesus and everything changed. Everything.
Suddenly, the things in his life that held the most importance and seemed to be of the most value became less than worthless compared to his relationship with the Lord. All that he had thought of as being gains in this world amounted to nothing in eternity. There were probably plenty of “friends” who tried to convince him not to “throw it all away” just to follow Jesus. To the world, it seemed as if Paul was losing everything, and for what? What did he gain by becoming a follower of Jesus? Persecution, hardship and eventually death. Yet in the end he could proclaim without hesitation that he had finished the race he was put on this earth to run and, even to the end, he kept the faith!
You may feel at times as if your life is being wasted because of what you do not have in this world or because of choices you, like the Apostle Paul, have made to do God’s will instead of living just for yourself. Others may have gone on to gain success by this world’s definition and yet have gained nothing in eternity, but you have the assurance of the One who created you that your choice to follow the Lord and do His will is laying up treasure in Heaven.
What would on the surface appear to be a loss, giving of your time to serve the Lord by serving others, is seen, remembered and rewarded by the Lord. Sometimes you just need to be reminded about how God sees things and what matters to Him, reminded about how He measures success and reminded about the truth concerning gains and losses!
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