If you’ve ever wanted to set a world record, it’s not as hard as you might imagine. For example:
- The largest popcorn sculpture is currently set at 20 feet, 10 inches.
- The most games of hopscotch played in twenty-four hours is 434.
- Most apples cut with a samurai sword in one minute is 29.
- The longest duration of underwater pogo stick jumping is 3 hours and 40 minutes.
- The longest distance for underwater unicycling is 1.3 miles.
These “achievements” don’t exactly make one stand in awe and admiration. However, what’s interesting about these world records is that one man, Ashrita Furman, holds them all. In fact, Furman holds the world record for the most current records held by one individual at the same time with 131. Some of his world records are silly, but others are actually pretty amazing. He holds the record for longest continuous distance while balancing a milk bottle on his head at 80.95 miles. He has juggled while on a pogo stick for 4 miles, 30 feet. He has balanced a lawnmower on his chin for 5 minutes, 1.53 seconds (Ashrita.com).
Without a doubt, Ashrita Furman is a remarkable person, and one who has dedicated countless hours to these records. But what has he really gained by all of this? What has he really achieved? In the grand view of life and eternity, these world records hold no real value. They are, after all, “world” records, not “eternal” records.
In a similar fashion, Paul was a man full of achievements. He details them out in Philippians 3:4-6: “… If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.”
Paul certainly had some impressive pedigrees, but he saw how useless these achievements really were. His conclusion was this, “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8).
As people, we are constantly looking to push the levels of achievement, whether personal or on a world record level. While these are interesting, their value is limited. Sometimes we get caught up in trivial goals and achievements at the expense of our relationship with the Lord. There is nothing wrong with having interests and hobbies, but let’s make sure we keep our priorities in check. In the end, there is no greater achievement, nothing more valuable to gain in this life than Jesus Christ.