Today is the big day. We’ve been hearing about it for months, longer if you’re into politics. Today we decide who will be the next president of the United States of America. Today feels important, the culmination of lots of build-up found on social media, the news, the flags, and signs in front yards. It’s kind of exciting — maybe less this year than in past elections because of the tension — but everyone who is invested in this race and the future of American politics believes this is a valuable election. The truth of the matter is that, once the winner is announced, most of our lives will go back to normal. Regardless of who comes out on top, we will move on, and the president will do presidential things. Babies and puppies will be at the top of our Facebook feeds, holiday sales will be flooding our inboxes, Christmas is coming after all, and we have decorating to do.
While it feels important right now, it will slowly lose its emotional steam, and we as individuals will move on. It is interesting to think about how many people have invested time, energy, and words into today’s results who will move on like the rest of us by the end of January 2021, if not before then. Make a note of what you think is valuable at this moment because it will be essential to keep in mind as we journey through Philippians on Sundays and in our Community Groups.
Paul writes Philippians from prison in Rome while awaiting trial before Nero. While reflecting on his imprisonment and what brought him there, he makes a bold statement:
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel
— Philippians 1:12
He says that he knows this to be true because of the other believers who had strengthened their faith in light of his persecution and were on the move spreading the gospel. Consider these followers of Jesus who used Paul’s imprisonment as momentum to Jesus’s follower Peter, who denied he even knew Jesus on the eve of his imprisonment. What makes this different? Well, Jesus himself is the actual difference. In comparing these two scenarios, John Piper jumps forward to Philippians 3 where Paul says, “But whatever things were gain to me, these things I have counted as loss because of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them mere rubbish, so that I may gain Christ.”
The surpassing value of knowing Christ… this is the difference that drives out fear and motivates Paul and the brothers who were advancing the gospel. The surpassing value of Christ himself. This value has not faded or changed since A.D. 66 when Paul wrote these words from prison. For him, everything centered on this most precious truth, and it changed his life, both earthly and eternal.
So today, as we wait with bated breath for news about the nation, let us remember that this news will lose importance one day at a time before this president is nothing more than a number in our history books. But Christ has supreme value today, tomorrow, and forever. This is what we live for and work for. This is what we give our lives for, and may we end the day, this day singing loudly, “But whatever things were gain to me, these things I have counted as loss because of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them mere rubbish, so that I may gain Christ.”