After several months of waiting, our septic system at home is being repaired. I am actually watching the men work as I write this devotion! We experienced a leak in the system which let everyone nearby know that our septic line was not working - if you know what I mean! I think all of you know the purpose of a septic tank. It holds everything that comes from the shower, sink and toilet and distributes the waste water throughout a filter drain system in the ground.
I know, some of you are thinking right now...how in the world can this be a devotion and offer any spiritual lesson? Well, somehow I can find spiritual truth in most situations of life! So let's look to a verse in the New Testament written by the apostle Paul. It's Philippians 3:8
"What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ." (NIV)
But, the King James Version renders the passage this way:
"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."
The Greek word (the language of the New Testament writers) translated as "garbage" (skubala) can also be translated as "dung," or "waste," or "manure." I have known Chris Mote, my septic guy, a long time. He has a more respectable word for the stuff in the tank, referring to it as "sludge."
No matter what your word choice may be, Paul makes a strong point here about his personal and growing relationship with Jesus. His credentials before his conversion to Christianity were highly respected by the Jewish world. His circumcision, his pedigree, his status as a Pharisee, his zeal, his obedience to the law were all admired by the Jewish people. Yet, Paul considered his achievements just worthless garbage and waste compared to knowing Christ Jesus as Lord!
The same should be true of all of us as believers. There is no status, no money, no achievement, no degree, no earthly relationship, no accolade, no possession that can compare to knowing Christ Jesus as Lord. Paul said in Philippians 3:7, "But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ."
There is no greater calling than to follow Christ. All other things are but garbage compared to knowing Him as Lord. Paul dedicated his life to moving forward in Christ. He willingly left his past behind in order to press onward in his commitment and faith to the Savior who gave all for Him. Just a few sentences later Paul famously said:
"But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
We waste so much time and money on things that do not matter. In the big scheme of things our worldly pursuits are but garbage and waste compared to knowing Christ and dedicating our lives to following Him. So, today I am experiencing a vivid reminder of how wasteful our worldly pursuits can be. In fact, it stinks! So, join me in leaving the garbage behind and pressing onward to win the eternal prize that is never a waste, that of living for Christ Jesus our Lord.