Have you heard of a “penny a day?”
It’s better to have a single penny that doubles everyday for a month, versus $1 million up front. This is because of the power of compound interest. If you took a single penny and doubled it everyday, by day 30, you would have $5,368,709.12.
We foolishly, by sight or presumption, ascribe more value to that which initially sounds bigger to us. But when we live with it a while and actually do the accounting, we see that the other is far more valuable.
This is, in effect, what Paul is illustrating here in Philippians 3:7-8. He’s done the accounting, and he declares as foolishness what he once considered valuable. He’s done the math, and he’s becoming all the more emphatic in his answer.
Well, an illustration.
Imagine that you are the captain of a large cargo vessel back in biblical times. You are sailing along with a ship full of valuables … things that everyone in the world needs on a regular basis. Things like salt, spices, oils, fabrics, dyes, and the like. And you are very, very proud of your haul, and the fact that you were entrusted with something so valuable.
But along the way, you pass another ship, and this ship is full of riches: diamonds, gold, and the like. The captain of that ship offers you all of his cargo for your own, only in order to get it, you have to discard everything that you currently hold valuable in your ship.
Would you do it?
YES … because you see that what THAT ship holds is of far greater value than what your ship holds … and you see that keeping what you once thought was valuable prevents you from having what is truly valuable, so you consider all of that stuff a loss, throwing it overboard into the ocean, making room for that which is truly valuable.
This is what we must do when we are confronted with Jesus. We must see Him for who He truly is, and consider as loss anything that might lead us to reject Him.
Rob is Teaching Pastor at Blackman Baptist Church.