Scripture: Philippians 3:1-11
Key verse: (4) “If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more”
Reflection: When was the last time you put a resume together? I bet it was pretty impressive, I mean most resumes are, right? In these documents we place all of our accomplishments and accolades, we name our titles and degrees, we list our best selves. These resumes don’t just list our many endeavors, but they are the results of years of work, focus, and determination. Our resumes in some way are a summing up of our lives in a page. Our best selves put forward.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul was asking people to think of their resumes, of their best accomplishments. Paul then told them, if you think you can boast, I can boast more. Paul goes on to list his superior pedigree, abundant knowledge, and grand actions. But then, instead of holding it over the community, Paul says that all of his accomplishments are rubbish. Rubbish, literally translated this word means…. well let’s just say that the King James Bible translates this word as dung. Paul has acknowledged that he has the best resume of all the community that he was writing to, and even all that he has accomplished, the person he has become, the time and effort spent at becoming the best, is considered as dung. If Paul’s accomplishments are best and considered dung, then the accomplishments of the others must be whatever is of less value than that.
But Paul’s message is not one of self-flagellation or harsh criticism. Instead, Paul places these accolades in context of the importance of knowing Christ. Paul is willing to throw away everything else in his life so that he may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of Paul’s own but one that comes through the faithfulness of Christ (3:8-9). Here again we meet a translation issue. In most of our bible’s verse 9 is translated, “not having a righteousness of my own that comes through the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ.” However, more accurately the verse would be translated with faithfulness of Christ.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, stop and rest in the faithfulness of Christ. May we stop trying to hold everything together, may we stop thinking that our actions and desires can accomplish all things, may we stop beating ourselves up for not being good enough, and killing ourselves in attempts to be the best. For whoever we are, whatever we do is dung if we do not rest in the faithfulness of Christ.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we give you thanks for your great faithfulness. We praise you that your goodness is greater than our best. May we align our lives with you, following in your faithfulness. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[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].