Scripture: Philippians 3:1-11
Key verse: (8) More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
Reflection: It’s Shrove Tuesday! That is the day before Ash Wednesday; so it’s the last day before the season of Lent begins. The word “shrove” comes from the Old Middle English word “shriven” which mean to go to confess your sins. Some cultures celebrate today as Mardi Gras, the last day of celebration before a season of introspection and fasting. Pancakes are a traditional meal, using up the butter, eggs and fat that are discouraged during the somber season of Lent.
We find ourselves reading a passage from Paul’s letter to the faithful in the city of Philippi. Here Paul gives his spiritual resume. If he was on LinkedIn, Paul would have lots of connections and a long list of “featured skills and endorsements.” Paul had accumulated every spiritual achievement and honor. But Paul knows that none of that matters compared to the value of knowing Jesus Christ as his Lord. He proclaims all of his prestige and achievement to be “rubbish.” Paul is willing to throw everything in the garbage heap in order to have a relationship with Christ.
I wonder what you might throw in the metaphorical garbage in order to be faithful to Jesus Christ as your Lord. Are you willing to give up wealth? Prestige? Trophies or awards or recognitions? As one commentator wrote, deciding to follow Jesus Christ may mean, “to undertake an act of deliberate downward mobility.” Paul believed Christ was worth it. Do we?
Prayer: Holy One, prepare me for the season of Lent. As I journey with Jesus Christ toward the cross, give me the courage and the strength I need to be faithful. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].
 David Rensberger in Johannine Faith and Liberating Community (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1988), 114 quoted by Frances Taylor Gench in Encounters with Jesus (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2007), 26.