Devotional Readings

Counting the Cost

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Philippians 3:7.

No one can take from you what you have already given away. Paul consciously chose to give everything he possessed to Christ. Nothing was worth more to him than Christ. Nothing was more valuable than Christ’s love or more precious than His grace. In comparison to His relationship with Christ, everything else paled into insignificance. When the apostle exclaims, “What things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ,” the word Aloss” in the original language means “dung,” “refuse,” or “garbage.” Christ is so incredibly precious that all of this world’s treasures are garbage in comparison.

On December 8, 1934, Chinese bandits murdered two Presbyterian missionaries, John and Betty Stam. The thieves burned their home to the ground. Some days after the tragedy, Christian friends found Mrs. Stam’s Bible among the charred ruins. On the flyleaf she had written, “Lord, I give up my purpose and plans, all my desires, hopes and ambitions, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. I hand over to Thy keeping all my friendships, my love. All the people whom I love are to take second place in my heart. Fill me and seal me with thy Holy Spirit. Work out Thy whole life in my life at any cost now and forever. For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Christ fills the empty heart. Christ enriches the poverty-stricken soul. Christ replaces the dung of this world with the priceless, matchless charms of His love.

Ellen White states it succinctly, “Whatever shall draw away the heart from God must be given up” (Steps to Christ, p. 44). The basic question in the Christian life is “Who has your heart?”

Jesus’ teachings contain some amazing paradoxes. One incredible paradox is simply this: “By giving all, we receive all.” Today Christ offers us His all. His grace. His pardon. His mercy. His power. His courage. His comfort. His hope. His promise of eternity. The fellowship of His presence now and forever. In light of all He gives us, everything we give away is only garbage. What an exchange!

from On Solid Ground
Mark Finley | Review & Herald (2003)
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