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. Philippians 3:8
You don't have to be a baseball fan to have heard the tragic story of 39-year-old Shannon Stone.
Since a few weeks have gone by since his fatal accident, let me share the details of his story. Stone, an 18-year veteran firefighter went to a Texas Ranger's baseball game with his son. Both father and son were big fans of the Rangers, and the father wished to give his son the supreme souvenir anybody can take home from a big-league game.
Stone wanted to give his son a ball that had been used in play.
That's why, when all-star outfielder Josh Hamilton tossed a ball into the stands, Stone reached for it. He put everything he had into that reach and he ended up falling to the concrete below. He died on the way to the hospital.
After the incident various people suggested that Stone had been drunk; he wasn't. Others tried to offer all kinds of excuses for -- and accusations against -- the father.
As for me, I understand. There are some things in life which demand you give your all. No, it may not mean you die trying to get a baseball, but there are some things -- not many, but some things -- which call for a person to commit everything he's got to achieving that goal.
I've stood on battlefields around the world and known that there people fought and bled and died for a cause in which they believed. They gave their all.
For years I've preached the story of the Savior who felt that the price of our redemption was worth the cost of His life. Jesus' entire life was spent giving His all.
I've read the words of St. Paul who felt it was a small thing to give up all he had been so he might receive the salvation won by the Savior. How does the apostle say it ... "I have suffered the loss of all things and count those things as being rubbish, so that I may have the Redeemer."
Paul was speaking for many people when he wrote those words.
He was speaking for anyone who has recognized the greatness of his sin and knows he is deserving of eternal punishment. He was speaking for all who have seen the Father above send His Son to take our sin and punishment upon Himself. He was talking about all who have received the blood-bought forgiveness which Jesus won upon the cross.
Paul was talking for all who knew they have been saved by grace alone.
I pray St. Paul was talking about you and me: people who give thanks the Savior gave His all for our salvation.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for having lived, died and risen for my salvation, I give thanks. You offered everything You had so I might be forgiven and granted eternal life. Now may the Holy Spirit motivate me so my life may be spent praising and giving thanks to You. In Your Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries