… I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Phil. 3:8)
Let me call him Franklin. He was a prominent and wealthy citizen in the community. Soon after he joined the church, he started sending me notes on stationary that listed every role, board, cause, agency, and committee that he was involved with and served on.
Over the next couple of years, Franklin began to volunteer in unexpected ways. He didn’t sign on for anything he could put on his stationary. Instead, he gave his time serving meals, shoveling snow for shut-ins, driving the disabled, and visiting the sick.
One day I received a note from him. I don’t remember what the note was about. What I do remember was Franklin’s new stationary. It had his name, address, and phone number, and that was it. His extensive list was gone.
Seeing Franklin later that week, I told him I liked his new stationery. He said, “I’ve had to face some things since being here and serving in new ways. My money didn’t buy me happiness. My houses didn’t give me homes. My community work—I wasn’t doing it because I enjoyed it; I was doing it to justify myself. I don’t feel like I need to do that anymore. I now believe Jesus has done that for me. He’s enough. I wanted my new stationery to reflect what I now believe.”
While listening to him, I felt like I was hearing Paul’s words: “I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus.” Paul had the right background, credentials, training, and affiliations. After he came to know Jesus, none of that mattered.
If we’re ever inclined to talk about ourselves by listing all of our roles, credentials, ministries, and committees, I encourage us to remember that we don’t need to justify ourselves. Once we know the surpassing worth of what Jesus has done for us, we can trust that He has already done all the justifying we’ll ever need.
- Like Franklin, have you ever felt like you needed to justify yourself? If so, how come?
- Move from the past to the present: Are you still trying to justify yourself? Are your efforts wearing you out?
- What would help you to trust that Jesus has done all the justifying you’ll ever need? How would your life be different if you truly regarded everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus?