It’s like the first day of college all over again. Screaming leaders waving bright green signs, people you’ve never seen before banging on your car grinning wildly, and strangers giving you hugs telling you they’re your “room leader” for the summer. Hundreds of people are milling around carrying overstuffed duffle bags, bulging suitcases and backpacks so full you’d think they could injure somebody. Finding your room, meeting your new roommates, and then finding your friends again to compare notes on your new surroundings…it’s all a little scary, and a lot of people aren't exactly sure what exactly this “Project,” their home for the next two months, is all about.
What are we doing down here?
Summer Training Project, as you can gather from the name, is all about training college students to be laborers for the gospel. Every year, we have a theme that is the focus of the talks, studies, and personal devotions throughout the summer, for the purpose of getting to know the Lord in a new and different way, seeing aspects of His character and the Gospel we’ve never seen before. This summer, the theme is “Worth It,” and we are studying through the book of Philippians.
Seeing Jesus as worth it
On Monday night, Reid Jilek, the project director, unpacked the meaning behind “worth it” in our first theme talk of the summer. He began with two questions: “what does ‘worth it’ mean and what are you trusting in to find your worth?” The answer to the first question came from Philippians 3:7-8:
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, 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.
Jesus is worth it.
He is worth giving up everything we have because knowing Him is of “surpassing worth,” which in Greek means to “be superior in rank, authority and power.” In the end, He is the only thing that is worth it. Jesus hammers this home in Luke 18:29-30, when the rich young ruler walked away from following Christ because he didn’t want to give up the wealth he had accumulated.
“Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
In truth, following Jesus isn’t giving up anything; it’s gaining everything - everything that really matters: the kingdom of God and eternal life…a relationship with Jesus forever. As college students, following Jesus is a risk of what we think matters – friends, reputation, a fun college experience – but in reality those things are so fleeting, they’re not worth our regret. Following Jesus is the greatest adventure we could ask for, worth everything we might have to turn our backs on to gain an “eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
The question we’ll be exploring this summer is one worth considering: do you believe Jesus is worth it all?