none of these reached actual “success” except that he found Jesus along the way
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
If we’re honest, I think most of us would admit we’re incredibly good at comparison. We look around at what other people have or what someone else is doing with their life and compare it with our own possessions or successes. Many of us spend hours perusing social media sites observing others from a distance and wondering what life might be like in someone else’s shoes. We can end up feeling discouraged or even circumstantially happy with the life we get to live. But, what if we compared our life with that of Paul instead?
Let’s remember Paul is sitting in house arrest when he looks around and contemplates his life. I imagine him thinking back over his own story – where he’s spent his time, his energy and his resources. He notices the interest he gained throughout his years and all the many “successes” he’s had in the eyes of others. He sees everything he’s accomplished, every person he’s influenced, and every new initiative he’s sparked. But, he calls them garbage because none of it satisfies. Paul realizes none of these reached actual “success” except that he found Jesus along the way.
Paul looks over his own life’s successes and declares that none of it was actual “success.” He even goes as far to say that much of his life was a “loss,” because, for Paul, nothing would ever be a win without Jesus. His words teach us that any accomplishment or growth or gain is simply a waste without sharing it with Jesus. If you look around at your life today and compare it with others, you’ll always come up unsatisfied. If your goal is success – to get ahead in life or to find happiness in this world – you’ll always come up wanting. But, if you adopt the mission of gaining Christ in whatever you do, and embrace the goal of doing life with Christ, you’ll never come up short because you’ll always find him there. At the end of your day today, evaluate where you spent your time, energy and money and ask yourself if those investments were worth investing in.
But seek first of the kingdom of God
and his righteousness
and all these things will be added to you.
By Yvonne Biel