Philippians 3:7-10, But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
While reading this passage-one of my favorite New Testament passages-this morning I had to ask myself, What did Paul mean when he said, “But what things were gain to me, I counted loss for Christ,” “I count all things but loss,” and “I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung”?
Now really Paul! Were you serious when you wrote, “I count all things but loss” and “I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung (rubbish)”? Or were you exaggerating just a bit?
What did Paul mean when he said “all things”?
In the context of the passage, we know for sure that he was at least referring to his ethnic and religious heritage, as well as his “blameless” life [Philippians 3:7-8].
Just a casual look at Paul’s life and ministry, as well as the lives and ministries of Jesus’ disciples, you’ll find that they were all willing to leave their fathers,’ families, future ambitions, financial security, and everything that was familiar to them to follow Jesus. Not only that they were willing to give up their freedom to follow Christ and eventually their very lives.
In other words, all of the Jesus’ disciples, as well as the apostle Paul, had an “all things” attitude. An attitude that was willing to say as Paul said, “But what things were gain to me, I counted loss for Christ,” “I count all things but loss,” and “I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung.”
How about us today?
As we look upon the landscape of American Christianity today and look at our own lives in the mirror of God’s word, and see how we “fight for our rights,” live as if “Only the strong survive,” and seem to be more focused on self-preservation than knowing Christ and Gospel propagation, we seem to be light years away from that “all things” attitude that consumed Paul’s life!
A century ago, a band of brave souls became known as one-way missionaries. They purchased single tickets to the mission field without the return half. And instead of suitcases, they packed their few earthly belongings into coffins. As they sailed out of port, they waved good-bye to everyone they loved, everything they knew. They knew they’d never return home. A. W. Milne was one of those missionaries. He set sail for the New Hebrides in the South Pacific, knowing full well that the headhunters who lived there had martyred every missionary before him. Milne did not fear for his life, because he had already died to himself. His coffin was packed. For thirty-five years, he lived among that tribe and loved them. When he died, tribe members buried him in the middle of their village and inscribed this epitaph on his tombstone: When he came there was no light. When he left there was no darkness.
Like the Apostle Paul, the other disciples of Jesus, A. W. Milne and the other “One-way” missionaries had this “all things” attitude and because they did they made a difference for Christ and the cause of Christ..
O Lord, give us an “all things” attitude!!!