Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Philippians 3:4, 7 If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more:… 7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
I remember a wonderful trip my wife and I took many years ago. We swam in the ocean and snorkeled around the ruins of an old fort where lots of fish hang out. We collected sea shells and sand dollars. We sat on the beach and soaked up too many UV rays. We saw dolphins playing in the wake of our tour boat. We enjoyed the fellowship of people from our church and we enjoyed time alone. We had a wonderful time and we are so thankful for the opportunity to see a part of the country we had never seen before.
We also saw extravagant wealth. We stayed in a hotel that was schedule for demolition later that year to make space for beach front condominiums. There was nothing wrong with this hotel, but it would be destroyed for the sake of financial gain. When the condo towers are complete, the smallest unit of 1400 square feet will sell for $1.4 million, and the largest 4000 square foot unit will sell for $4.8 million. There will be over 40 units in all. The beach is lined with such housing options, and there are very few vacancies.
I was overwhelmed with the confidence that people are putting in wealth. I was not jealous of them; for I have a mansion that is being built for me right now that will exceed anything I could dream of affording on this earth. But I was heartbroken to think of all the people who have put their hope in what this world has to offer them. None of the problems of the world have been solved by their investments. None of their personal pain has been healed by their possessions. Their view of life has not been improved by their view of the ocean. The pleasures they experience have not released them from the bondage of fear of possible hurricanes. They try to build their kingdoms to withstand the destructive force of God’s creation, but they are willing to live that way because they believe the benefits of the immediate outweigh the risks of total loss. They have no hope that extends beyond the tangible. It is so very sad.
But then I think of the conflict in my own life between confidence in the flesh and the hope of glory. Even though the net worth of my earthly possessions is far less than those living on the beach, the temptations are the same. I also seek personal worth and value from what I do and what I have. I confess to putting confidence in the flesh. I confess to taking pride in what I can accomplish in my own strength. I confess to needing approval from people to feel valued. I confess to finding pleasure in my possessions and an unwillingness to sacrifice them for the cause of Christ. I confess to not really knowing what it means to sacrifice, because I have learned how to give only what I don’t mind giving to justify keeping what I don’t want to give up. Can you relate?
Have we, albeit in smaller proportion, adopted the philosophy of the rich and the famous that invests primarily in what the world offers rather than in the treasures of heaven? Have we erected memorials to our own accomplishments where the cross of Jesus Christ once stood? Have we made the pursuit of pleasure our god because we need immediate gratification? Have we tried to discover the meaning of life in the measure of worth?
God is calling us today to consider this: what the world offers and what we are able to accomplish is nothing compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ intimately and completely.
Profit is what is left after all expenses have been paid. We have been duped into believing that all the bills have been received and paid, and what we have right now is ours to keep. But there is a hurricane on the horizon, and everything in this world will be destroyed. Only what has been invested in God’s kingdom will last. So whatever we have considered profit from this world is really not profit. Only what we will receive from Jesus at His coming will be ours to truly keep. All else is loss. Let’s start living that way.