I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8
In Matthew 13 there are the two short parables “The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding on a pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it,” verses 44-46.
Paul somehow was able to grasp this. He didn’t go out to look for the treasure, the treasure found him on the road to Damascus. Maybe because he had such a dramatic vision, call and turn around he was able to see the stark contrast between his old life and his new one. Also, if you recall, he got several special visitations from Jesus, causing him to value Him above all else.
What would it take for us to grasp the immense worth of knowing Christ Jesus so that we would be willing to lose everything, to leave the old life behind and to run after Jesus? My husband and I just watched the documentary video put out by Nik Ripken called, “The Insanity of God.” He also has a book with that title, along with the book, “The Insanity of Obedience.”
In his documentary he tells of his family’s work on the mission field in Africa. One of their sons died suddenly in Somalia of an asthma attack, causing them to come home for awhile. From there the Lord directed them to travel all over the world to interview Christians from the most persecuted places in the world. They asked the persecuted church a simple question, “Is Jesus worth it?” It was really a question that Nik needed the answer to, in light of the loss of their son.
One of the men that Nik interviewed told his story of coming to Jesus somewhere in the Middle East after killing hundreds of men. Nik called him the toughest man he had ever met. This man reached a point where he could only see blood on his hands, blood that wasn’t there. He had a dream with a scarred man who told this tough man that he was Jesus. He knew from the dream that if he could find Jesus he could get the blood off. It took him over a year to find a copy of the Bible, and to find out how to get Jesus in his life.
Eventually he did and the blood no longer haunted him. He only had a copy of the Scriptures to figure out what his new life would look like. He began smuggling Bibles and Christian materials throughout his region. He faced much danger because the word was out that he left Islam. He had been beaten, jailed, starved and left for dead but he was still alive and living for Jesus. He was willing to die, but the thing he now feared the most was that his wife and children would have to die for Jesus.
Nik asked the tough man the question that he himself needed an answer to, and this man gave it. Nik asked him, “If Jesus worth it? Is He worth your life? Is He worth the lives of your wife and your children?” This tough man wrapped his arms around Nik and wept. After several minutes he lifted his head, looked Nik in the eyes, nodded and declared, “Jesus is worth it. He is worth my life, my wife’s life, and He is worth the lives of my children! (p 286, The Insanity of God).
It has been said that everyone needs something worth living for and dying for. We might not face the persecution of Christians in other countries, but we need to come to the same resolution the tough man declared: “Jesus is worth giving my life wholly and unreservedly to. He is worth more than all of the stuff I have accumulated, or things that I place above Him in my life. He is worth hard times, He is worth denying ourselves and being misunderstood.” Jesus is worth it!