7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Phil. 3:7-11
It is verse 9 in particular that I want to focus on but, before we get there…
I have two stories to narrate, and these stories will form the backbone of the lesson that we want to learn today.
I was travelling in a bus recently when I overheard a lady seated behind me speaking on the phone. She said, “So-and-so is at our house.”
I thought, ‘Oh, how wonderful. They have a visitor.’
Then she said, “He has ran away from home again and he is now at our house.”
My heart broke. A young man had ran away from his home. For whatever reasons.
I arrived at my destination and, after narrating to my fellow pastor the sad tale I had overheard in the bus, it turned out he also had another harrowing story to tell. He told me that there was a lady, a neighbor of his, who had tried committing suicide on three different occasions upon learning that her husband was having an affair with another woman. This couple was very rich. The man had built a beautiful house where he lived with his wife and their two young children. But he had not only started an affair with another woman, but he had also built that woman a house in a different part of town. When his wife learned of it, she decided to kill herself. But on all three occasions either the overdose she took did not work properly, or someone had been around to help her.
When this pastor heard this story, he strengthened himself and, even though the couple are Muslim, he decided to pay the lady a visit. When he arrived, she stated that what he had heard was true. She also added that she was preparing for one final attempt at killing herself and this time she was planning to kill herself together with her two young children.
Upon hearing this, the pastor knew there was no other way. There was no time for him to talk to her about waiting for her husband to change. She was too far gone for that. There was only one way out. He had to talk to her about Jesus Christ… Christ, and Him crucified.
The gist of what this pastor spoke to this lady, and what happened after, is what I am going to share here.
[In the drier central parts of Tanzania, sunflower farming is one of the major sources of income]