If you have ever been on a field trip with children or have gone to camp, you know the ritual that happens prior to the bus departing. Whoever is in charge counts the number of young people that are going on the drive. The goal is that by counting the kids beforehand you are better prepared for the eventual trip back home. You can make sure that all the kids who went with you also return..
We have our own ways of preparing for the future. One way that we rarely consider is to engage in our own form of the pre-count. In Philippians 3:7-8 Paul says:
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.
Did you notice what Paul considered a loss?
The things he had gained through his time as a leader in the Jewish religious community – his reputation, his wealth, his prominence – all of that he considered a loss. But everything doesn’t just include things in the past – it includes everything in the future too. He knew that whatever benefits or blessings he might experience in the days ahead wouldn’t compare to what he already obtained – knowing His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
In a similar way, we can not only count everything in our past a loss compared to Jesus, but we can know that what this world holds for us in the future is as well. This means that His children need not worry about what the future has in store; good or bad it is a “loss” compared to what we already have.
The purpose of the bus ride pre-count is to better prepare for the future. When we do this in our own lives, when we know that what God has already provided, a relationship with Him through the death and resurrection of His Son, is of more value than anything that has already happened or that will happened, we too are better prepared for what the days ahead may hold.