I recently taught on these verses as part of our summer theme Passion 2 Pass Love On.
7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ (Philippians 3:7-8, NLT)
I then used this image of garbage to drive home my point:
Everything else is garbage when compared with knowing Christ. Everything. Garbage.
Let me illustrate.
I brought up a garbage bag full of, well, garbage. I began pulling things out of it. A toilet paper roll. Food wrappers. Apple core. Diaper. An empty coke bottle. "Oh what a beautiful vase. This heirloom is full of intrinsic and sentimental value! I LOVE this vase! Perhaps I should buy a book on antique collectibles and have this appraised."
To everyone else, this is clearly a piece of trash. But I treated it like it was extremely valuable.
Then I pull out a piece of plastic packaging for some random item about the size of a cell phone. "Oh, I love my iPhone! It's such a beautiful piece of technology! Sometimes people call it my girlfriend I look at it so much. I need to buy insurance for this. And perhaps a case. I should buy an ebook and read up on all this phone will do."
Again, it's obviously trash. But I don't seem to see what's so obvious to everyone else.
My point is that we have many things in life that we cherish but that are not really valuable in the scheme of things. Most of what we cherish and value does not last and therefore does not desire the amount of time, energy and money we invest into it.
But there are some truly valuable things in our lives, right? Sure. Friends. Family. They are extremely valuable and important--to us and to God. In fact, they are more valuable to God than they are to us. God treasures people!
But Paul says in this passage that as valuable as they are, the value of Christ is so much more valuable to us, that they are like trash--like garbage--in comparison. And we should live in a way that reflects that truth.
God calls knowing Christ "Infinitely valuable." Infinitely. That's a lot, right?
That's like a $1,000,000,000,000...and we're just getting started.
So my application to them and to you?
Take out the trash. Make room for Christ. He's infinitely worth it!