Yesterday, we talked about the Apostle Paul and his life as a religious “superstar” prior to meeting Jesus. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews — a stellar Pharisee — and his accomplishments in the realm of Judaism were huge. He sought to keep the whole letter of the law and held everyone else to the same standard of perfection. Unfortunately, though his intentions were to do right by God, his religiosity caused him to become legalistic and hardened. But everything changed the day he was introduced to Christ. On a trip to Damascus to persecute followers of the Way (a.k.a. Christians), he was physically blinded, and his spiritual eyes were opened to the living Lord. After encountering Him and tasting the riches of His mercy, Paul willingly left the rigors of religion behind and embraced freedom. Though it required him to lose every worldly credential, he emphatically exclaimed that he considered all that he once enjoyed garbage compared to the wonder of knowing Jesus. Interestingly, the Greek word translated garbage is skubalon, and Biblical scholars don’t always agree on how to interpret it. While some have said “dung,” others have said “waste,” and Martin Luther said “shiza” (that’s probably enough to give you the idea). No matter its translation, the idea conveyed by this very strong description is that everything Paul once held dear was of no value to him as a Christian. In fact, those things were so rotten and repugnant to him now that there was no temptation to go back.
My friend, if you find your purpose in credentials or position, remember the words of the Apostle Paul. No matter how many accolades have been bestowed upon you or how well-known you are in the world, such things are garbage compared to the privilege of being adopted into the family of God. The eternal riches you inherited when you surrendered your life to your Savior — and the peace and joy that come from living in His presence — are worth more than any earthly treasure. While wealth, power, and prestige are ever-alluring, you already have the only thing you will ever need. Seek Jesus in plenty or in want, and your soul will be completely satisfied.