But even beyond that, I consider everything a loss in comparison with the superior value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have lost everything for him, but what I lost I think of as sewer trash, so that I might gain Christ. –Philippians 3:8
Paul was graphic at times, a reflection of his uncensored approach to life. He uses a Greek word translated “sewer trash” in the Common English Version, or “dung” in the King James. No matter which translation, it’s still poop, a four letter word.
What’s poop? In his eyes, it’s PhD’s, MA’s, BA’s, MDiv’s, MD’s, JD’s after your name. It’s Reverend, Doctor, the Honorable before your name. It’s diplomas, plaques, and certificates of achievement on a wall. It’s pictures with famous people.
Paul says the human condition is such that the more achievements we pile up, the more we seduce ourselves into thinking we’re special and unique. In reality, we’re not. The universe couldn’t care less about you, your titles, or your happiness. The more we promote ourselves, the quieter the universe responds.
It’s at the moment when we relax from our strivings to be somebody that we hear a whisper. It’s a soft voice saying that you are, indeed, of immense value. Not because of what you’ve achieved which, in the grand scheme of things, is poop. Rather, you’re important because of the one who formed you in your mom’s womb says you are.
As we grow up, we shouldn’t get hung up on status as much as on trying to have, as Henri Nouwen put it, “a heart that’s as gentle and humble as the heart of Christ.”
How difficult this is! No wonder we have to continually “work out our salvation” (Philippians 2:12).
When we stop trying to make ourselves look good, we discover how good Jesus looks.
“That I might gain Christ.”