There were two things that the apostle Paul regarded valuable beyond everything else, in other words, without parallel in this life.
1The first was the surpassing knowledge of Christ Jesus that was of far greater worth than everything else he owned, possessed and he was put together.
Indeed, 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.
For the apostle Paul everything he had inherited, achieved or become put together could not match the value of knowing Christ. For him knowing Christ was unparalleled with anything else in his life. For us too, the value we attach to our personal knowledge of Christ must be far greater than the value of everything else we consider worthwhile put together. Everything else is worth loosing and pales in significance when compared to the knowledge of Christ our Saviour. What has greater and all surpassing value is the knowledge of and gaining Christ.
So elevate the value of knowing of Christ and God in your life to the highest position. Don’t allow anything else to come anywhere near it let alone eclipse it. Your knowledge of God is your greatest and most valuable asset in life. Nothing will come anywhere near it in value both in this world and in the world to come. It is like a universal currency that can be converted and used in any walk of life this, and the other side of heaven.
1 Timothy 4:8
….for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
Adjust and reorder your value system accordingly so that your use of your time and other resources is wise and towards that which has value and promise of lasting reward. The value we attach to something will determine how much of our life we invest into it.
Aim for what is beneficial and of lasting value even if it requires your swimming against the current rather than be carried by it and waste the valuable resources of time and focus God has given each one of us. Dare to be counter-current and make your time (and life) count towards something substantial and of lasting value.
On a practical and individual level, seriously engage in contemplative and meditative reading of scripture as well as systematic study for therein has God selected to reveal Himself. Similarly, on a corporate (group) level, commit to a youth cell near you where you can together explore and abide in the words of Christ and support one another in order that you may truly be his disciples and practise godliness. This is where we also grow in and practically demonstrate Christ’s love which is the corporate trademark of genuine Christian discipleship. So get stuck into a local cell.
2 The second was the work which the Lord Jesus tasked him with to complete, the purpose and calling of God upon his life.
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Paul equated the value of his life to that of finishing the race or course God had mapped out for him, the ministry he was called to and entrusted with by the Lord, that of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. Paul was determined that he would complete the course that had been mapped out for him, the work he was given by the Lord of testifying to the gospel of grace. That was his calling, his purpose for which he had been created. Even though he had at one point been a persecutor of the church in the extreme degree, nonetheless he also understood that he had been set apart from birth by God for this calling.
But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone,
It was this unique calling of God upon his life that the apostle was determined to fulfil and accomplish to the extent that he did not consider his life of any value if he did not or could not. He equated the value of his life to that of accomplishing the work God had prepared beforehand, for which he was set apart before he was born, for him to walk in. He knew and understood that his greatest accomplishment in life was none other than the fulfilment of God’s calling and purpose in his life. There was nothing more valuable or loftier that he could accomplish with/in his life than completing the work he had been set apart by the Lord to do. Such was his determination and drive that he would not stop at anything even if it meant losing his life accomplishing the work God gave him to do.
For each one of us too God has in advance prepared good works for us to walk in.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We were created in Christ, born again in Him for good works that God prepared beforehand for each one of us to walk in, i.e. to live out in our lives on earth. We are His workmanship and God does not work without thought and preparation but with plan and intention. Each one of us (just like the apostle Paul above and the Lord Jesus Christ below) has a purpose God has designed for us to fulfil, good works to accomplish in our lives here on earth.
For the apostle Paul, not only was his greatest personal fulfilment and satisfaction in the accomplishment of the work Christ tasked him with, but this was also what glorified God in his life. Therein also lied the guarantee of his reward in heaven (2 Timothy 4:7–8 and 1 Corinthians 9:25–27). In both these passages the reward is associated with completing one’s own race albeit at a cost. Only then are we guaranteed the maximum reward heaven – when we remain faithful to and accomplish our God ordained purposes and callings in this life.
Our accomplishment or failure to do so will determine our personal fulfilment, how much we glorify God with our lives on earth and the reward we receive in heaven.
I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.