Gains and Losses, Part 2

By DeLano Sheffield

August 3, 2023

Scripture — Philippians 3:7-9 (NRSV)

Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 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 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith.


What a profound change to my perspective and the way that I carry out my work, status, choosing a neighborhood, relationship to others, etc. when Jesus is becoming absolutely sufficient for me.


Paul did not value his life based on what he accomplished. Instead, he compared himself to Christ. And Jesus helps us make sense of perspective. The greater Christ is, the better scale we get of ourselves. The more Christ is everything, the more we realize that everything we need for life and health is found in and through Christ.

What a profound change to my perspective and the way that I carry out my work, status, choosing a neighborhood, relationship to others, etc. when Jesus is becoming absolutely sufficient for me. In God’s ironic processes, Paul found the good life while in prison. This thorn-in-the-side apostle who has been to the third heaven arrived at the conclusion that being in Christ is enough. Paul’s adequacy was not found in his accomplishments, the length of time since his last heinous sin, the accolades and support from members of the body, or his apostleship. His perspective of life in Christ was in what he had gained—namely, Jesus Christ who, even in his perspective, thought that his equality was not something that had to be taken like plunder (Philippians 2:5-6).

Jesus draws us with a Gospel lens to look at life with an eternal perspective. Malcolm Muggeridge in Jesus Rediscovered said it adequately:

I may, I suppose, regard myself, or pass for being, a relatively successful man. People occasionally stare at me in the streets—that’s fame. I can fairly easily earn enough to qualify for admission to the higher slopes of the Internal Revenue—that’s success. Furnished with money and a little fame even the elderly, if they care to, may partake of trendy diversions—that’s pleasure. It might happen once in a while that something I said or wrote was sufficiently heeded for me to persuade myself that it represented a serious impact on our time—that’s fulfillment. Yet I say to you, and I beg you to believe me, multiply these tiny triumphs by a million, add them all together, and they are nothing—less than nothing, a positive impediment—[when] measured against one draught of that living water Christ offers to the spiritually thirsty, irrespective of who or what they are.

What beautiful perspective and life we gain when everything is a loss compared to Christ. Oh, what depth and riches of satisfaction are found when Christ is all; when “he’s everything to me.”


What would your life look like to realize who you are next to Christ?


Take your list from the day before. Write next to each thing what you could be grateful for if that thing were gone. Thank God for those things.


God, thank you that you are enough! Help me to recognize the riches of my daily tasks, and to see you in the bumps in the road. Amen.

Banner image by Karsten Wurth on Unsplash.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the High Calling archive, hosted by the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Drinking Living Water.

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DeLano Sheffield

Author & Business Resource Specialist

DeLano J. Sheffield is the Business Resource Specialist for Goodwill of MoKan where he connects to people on the fringes, training them to reach their full potential through learning and the power of work; he also is on the frontlines of the advances of the fourth industrial revolution and coa...

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