Lent - Trophies

Lent - Trophies

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." Philippians 3:7-8

What kind of trophies do you seek in life? Here's what John Ortberg writes about trophies, "A trophy is not the achievement itself - it's not the learning that we have gained nor the muscles that we have trained or the courage we have expended. It's a symbol of achievement. It's an external validation of our worth. At best, the trophies in the case are a little reminder, something to make us grateful for the past and motivated for the future. At its worst, the trophy case becomes a shrine, a tool to prop up a false image of ourselves."

(p222, When the Game is Over) As a teenager, I loved trophies - for academic accomplishments, for musical and athletic achievements, for anything that gave me the recognition and affirmation that I craved - that I thought I deserved after my hard work. In many ways, these trophies defined me. They validated my self-esteem and sense of worth. I am grateful for the reminder that there are trophies greater (and longer lasting) than earthly trophies because while earthly trophies were exciting in the moment, they became paperweights in the end. The commendations and certificates, which were framed and admired, soon became forgotten and covered with dust. On the other hand, heavenly trophies last. They do not tarnish nor fade. They cannot be stolen nor lost. In fact, the apostle Paul writes that all of his earthly trophies were "rubbish" (ie. garbage, refuse, poo-poo) in light of the heavenly trophies he now pursued. All of his former awards and achievements paled in comparison to the "surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" (Phil 3:8). Paul continues, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead" (Phil 3:10-11). Friends, this weekend of Palm Sunday. As we prepare for the start Holy Week, I remind us to seek the right trophies - the trophies that last. Let's seek to know Christ and become like Christ. In doing so, we become not less of ourselves, but the fullness of who God created us to be. We live with a larger and wider perspective - an eternal perspective that keeps our eyes fixed on the prize - as we serve as Christ's hands and feet on earth.

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