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Friday, November 2, 2012
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"A Lesson From Rubbish"
"Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:7,8).
Yesterday was our trash and recycle day. Although I went to the effort to get the trash bags and recycle container to the road I was quite sure the severe weather earlier in the week would delay the pick up a day or two. Alas, after a morning out for company visits we came home and the trucks had already been by, with our empty green recycle bin laying on its side next to the road as evidence! We had the normal amount of trash but we consider all the people who have lost a great deal in the storm. Possessions that were once valued quickly becomes rubbish when they get soaking wet. We are sure during the next several weeks of cleanup there will be a lot more than the usual amount for trash pickup in areas affected by the storm.
Trash and recycle day is a cooperative job at our place for Ester and me. Brooksyne gets a break on this one. Ester goes throughout the house collecting all the individual trash baskets and I place the waste from these into the kitchen trash. I seal up the liner, place it in a larger bag with the other rubbish collected in trash bags throughout the week and place it along the road for pick up. For me there is a sense of fulfillment in this weekly chore, although by evening we start accumulating again!
Today let us consider a phrase from our daily Scripture portion, "I consider them rubbish."
This was written by the apostle Paul. In the context he gives his spiritual background and essentially asserts that if anyone can earn righteousness with God through pedigree and works he's the man.
But in his spiritual conversion to Christ he recognizes a dynamic truth: "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:8).
Notice the phrase "I consider them rubbish". The KJV uses the word "dung". The Greek word is "skubala" which is an hapax legomenon, meaning a word used only once in the entire New Testament.
Please pardon the candor in this definition from a Greek reference but this word "refers either to human excrement, the portion of food rejected by the body as not being nutritive or it refers to the refuse or leavings of a feast, the food thrown away from the table." * Paul is actually using the strongest and most descriptive word at his disposal to indicate his estimation of his past life. I can think of other words that he might have used if he were writing today in English.
Today there may be so much on our minds, somewhat depending on where we live, but also issues common to all of us. Many are dealing with the aftermath of the storm. Here in America we have an important election coming up. Worldwide we have terrorism. These and so many other issues can consume our thoughts
But let's examine our hearts and get a focus on what really matters.
Have we considered everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus? Do we consider them rubbish, that we may gain Christ?
I sure admit that for me this is an ongoing battle in my life but I do well to regularly consider it and aspire to the Apostle Paul's outlook.
All I once held dear, built my life upon,
All this world reveres, and wars to own,
All I once thought gain I have counted loss;
Spent and worthless now, compared to this.
Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You,
there is no greater thing.
You're my all, You're the best,
You're my joy, my righteousness,
and I love you, Lord.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, the accolades, merits, relationships and physical treasures I've accumulated in this life are but rubbish when compared to the all surpassing gift of knowing You, receiving Your forgiveness, and experiencing Your redemptive love. Because I am risen with Christ I want to place my affections on things above rather than things on this earth where I am so easily distracted from that which really matters and draws me closer to Your throne. To know You, Father, is to know unfathomable peace and joy beyond measure. I thank You through Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen.
* Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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