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holding on to the rubbish in our lives

Garage sales and Goodwills fascinate me.  In their own unique way, they provide a snapshot into the lives of total strangers.  More than once I have found myself wondering, “What in the world was that person thinking when they bought THAT!”

If ever I wanted to outfit my house in a retro-vintage-cheap-plastic-tacky-weird-odd-infomercial kind of way, garage sales and Goodwill would be the places to go.

But, as I’m often reminded while strolling the aisles of Goodwill, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Nowhere in Scripture is that more apparent than in Philippians 3:8-9 when the Apostle Paul describes the rearranging of his priorities:

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Philippians 3:8-9).

Only Paul wouldn’t refer to his trash as his treasure; in fact, it would be the other way around.  He refers to his previous treasures (his heritage, pedigree, education) as trash.

In the person of Jesus Paul had found something more important than pedigree — he had found the life-changing power, goodness, and grace of God.  In that moment, the shiny things of life lost their luster.  What he had spent years pursuing became unimportant.  Gaining Christ was all that mattered.

Reading this passage today made me wonder: What rubbish do I like to keep around?

When it comes to real garbage (stinky bananas, etc), most of us have a clear tolerance level … our nose knows when enough is enough and it’s time to throw out the trash.

But what about emotional or intellectual rubbish?  What about the job titles we pursue?  What about the drive to drive certain kinds of cars?  What about the rubbish that never gets exposed but gets carried with us throughout the day?

Perhaps the better question is this: Is Christ enough?  The hymn writer offered this challenge: “Take the world but give me Jesus.”

Can we say the same?