store. While she was there, she found a piano that she fell in love with. It
was a magnificent old mahogany upright with beautiful carvings across the
front. Inside the top was a beautiful hand detailed painting along the back
along with the serial number and name of the original maker. It had been
made in 1901. It had a warm full tone and so she thought all it needed was
to be tuned.
So she bought the piano, brought it home and called a piano restoration
specialist to come out to tune it. But it didn't take him long to determine
that the pinblock had been "doped." He explained to the woman that old
pianos "die" when the pinblock dries out because the pinblock can't keep the
pins tight when they're tuned. When this happens, if someone wants to sell
a piano in this condition, they will sometimes dope it, which means they lay
the piano on its back and pour a mixture of anti-freeze and water around the
pins to swell the pinblock. Sometimes, it will add some life to an aging
piano; in this case, it ruined it.
The woman was so disappointed and so angry that she put the piano
outside her home and made a sign for it that said "Free: 500 pounds of
firewood". What she thought was a treasure had turned to trash.
Have you ever had something like that happen to you? You find
something that you love, something you think is going your life so much
better, but shortly after you get it, it's destined for the trash pile. How
many of you have corners in your garages and basements and attics where you
keep all those so-called treasures? Yard sale lawn mowers that can't cut a
lick of grass, one of those slicer-dicers you thought your kitchen just
couldn't do without, maybe even your collection of 8-track tapes - now
there's a treasure!
We pursue many things in life hoping to gain a wonderful treasure. We
spend our lives in the pursuit of "things." But there are moments when
we're forced to stop and ask ourselves, "Is what I have really such a
treasure, or is it nothing but trash?" The apostle Paul was a man who once
faced this difficult question. Here's the conclusion he came to:
"But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge
of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,
and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ." (Philippians 3:7-8)
Paul says, "At one time, I had it all. But the things that I used to
think were important, I have weighed them, I have evaluated them, and I have
come to the conclusion that they are absolute garbage compared to what I
have in Jesus Christ."
What were those "things"? In the first few verses of Philippians 3,
Paul sets forth his credentials as a Jewish leader. Paul says, "If you were
to look at me, you would assume, 'Here is a man who has it all. He has
prestige, he has honor, he has power. He has everything that a man could
But, again, "What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for
Christ." Everything he had as a Jew that he considered to be important, he
re-evaluated and came to the conclusion that it really wasn't all that
important. "Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of
the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of
all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ." (3:8).
Now I understand that generally the things that are important to us are
not the same things that were important to Paul, but they are "things"
nonetheless. Maybe we enjoy living in our dream house. Maybe new clothes
or jewelry excites us, maybe a new computer, maybe a new car. Maybe making
it big in sports is our pride, maybe being popular and well-liked. Maybe
those awards we've hung on our walls. But when you take all these things
and you compare them to our blessings in Jesus Christ, they're a pile of
garbage, and we need to understand that.
Take a look around you. What do you see -- treasure or trash?