As I bent down to scrape that quarter cup into my dust pan one day, Phil 3:8 suddenly flashed through my mind. 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 (Phil 3:8). That dustpan was holding what my ESV calls "rubbish." When I was a child I know that word in my little white KJV was something else entirely, but in either case it was something one would definitely want to be rid of.
But what did Paul say that "rubbish" was? "…circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless (Phil 3:4-6). Paul was talking about his religious identity, his claim to be a man of God, and his accolades under the Law—as a zealous student of Gamaliel he was destined for greatness in Judaism.
So what does that mean my own personal dustpan is full of? My "pedigree," my education, any awards and accolades I have gained in my fields, even my wealth and possessions. Paul gave up all those things for Christ, but does that mean I have to? When push comes to shove I most certainly do. When my faith causes me to be reviled and persecuted (Matt 5:11), insulted (1 Pet 4:14), to suffer "the plunder of my property" (Heb 10:34), to be imprisoned (Heb 13:3), or even to be killed (Rev 12:11), then that is what I must endure. Everything I have I should count as "rubbish." Whether it's a beautiful home I love, or status in the community, or friends, or a bank account or stock portfolio—it should all be rubbish in my eyes.
Paul gave up everything for the Lord. The next time you sweep, mentally place in that dustpan everything he put in it—and mean it. If you haven't done it already in your heart, should the time ever come for you that finally came for him, you will never be able to follow his example.
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 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 (Phil 3:7-8).