Monday Devotional: October 2, 2023



Bible Reading: Philippians 3:4-11 (NRSVUE)

4 If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

I had the privilege of hearing Ray Buckley tell stories. He has you laughing one minute and crying the next. He talks a great deal about the values his family of the Lakota and Klinket tribes have taught him. He challenges his listeners to consider their own stories.

Paul begins this reading with his family story. His circumcision shows his Jewish heritage; he then moves to his membership with the tribal and ancient people of God, a Hebrew of Hebrews, in regard to the law, blameless — his credentials are impeccable. But Paul continues on to say that knowing Christ surpasses all these qualifications. In gaining Christ, his remarkable family pedigree is rubbish.

Think about the past. What are our family stories? What stories will be told about us when we are gone? The histories of our parents and grandparents, our family, and our life experiences have positively and negatively influenced that story. Some people tell stories of support and lifting up. Other people’s stories hold tragedy and hurt. Regardless, our story has been molded and influenced by our heritage.

But Paul releases his and our history, casts it aside, and tells us that we have a new life with faith in Christ. When we know the power of the Resurrection, we understand the power that comes in our new relationship. But it’s a process. We share our sufferings. We try to be obedient. We celebrate God’s revelation of the light to us. Whatever has shaped us in the past, we know that Christ is available to shape our future.


Gracious God, let our story continue to be written in relationship with you. Help us to be positive models in shaping other people’s stories. Amen.

By Bruce Blumer, The Upper Room Disciplines 2014, page 330.