Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Prosperity (05/11/06)
By Sharlyn Guthrie
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One Friday afternoon I rounded up my classroom garbage and set it in the back of my van to take it to the dumpster at the back of the parking lot. Another teacher approached her car parked next to mine and stopped to chat with me. Finished with our conversation, I drove out of the parking lot and on home, garbage still in tow. My van remained closed and parked in the garage until Monday morning. PHEW! The garbage promptly notified me of its presence as soon as I opened the door! It took several days of airing out the van to rid it of that horrible odor.
These unpleasant incidents with garbage came to mind recently as I read Philippians 3: 7-9a (Contemporary English Version). “But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless. Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ and to know that I belong to him.” Earlier in this same chapter Paul listed his many credentials…the things in life that had profited him…the things he could rightfully brag about. He concluded that all of those things are stinky, smelly garbage when compared to knowing Jesus.
In a culture as prosperous as ours, bragging rights multiply like rabbits in spring. I could boast about my home, my car, my church, my neighborhood, my latest vacation, my education, my pets, the success of my children…the list goes on and on. But I might as well throw all of it out with the paper scraps and sour milk. If I find my wealth in those things I am exceedingly poor. All I could ever want or need is found in Christ!
Now if I told you that the lessons learned from that passage in Philippians have caused me to enjoy taking out the garbage at the end of each school day, I would be lying. But I do imagine that in that dark, offensive bag I am toting out all of my strivings and all of the things most people would consider my prosperity. Into the dumpster they go, so that I might gain Christ!
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