Surpassing Value (May 29, 2013)

…Opening To…

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me save that thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping thy presence my light (Ancient Irish Hymn)

…Listening In…

Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Philippians 3:7-8a; context)

…Filling Up…

Immediately before the verse above, Paul sounds like he is bragging. “If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh,” he says, “I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.”

Here Paul gives his listeners his résumé. If he were writing today, perhaps he would say: “Graduated summa cum lauda from Harvard, interned for a supreme court justice, partner by age thirty – oh, and I own a yacht.” Perhaps Paul is boasting a bit, but in the end, he gives us his résumé for exactly one reason: to toss it in the dumpster.

All those things that seemed so important before Paul got literally knocked to the ground seem utterly insignificant after he meets Jesus on the road to Damascus. He finds a new priority, and every other priority pales in comparison.

Does this make everything besides “the surpassing value of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord” completely unimportant? Of course not. Rather, one piece of the value of knowing Christ is the clarity that our relationship with Jesus brings to our other priorities. When we put our relationship with Christ first, when that is our primary priority, we develop a foundation upon which to organize the rest of our priorities. And we find that not all of things we once valued should be pursued. And perhaps, we will find new things to value, things that Christ himself prioritized.

…Praying For…

Dear God, your relationship with me is beyond value. Help me to order my life with you at its center. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, but I take with me your word, which settles deep in my soul and speaks life into my being.

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