Friday, November 27, 2009
Philippians 4: 10-13
“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
I am not content with my discontentment!
Today is “Black Friday,” the busiest shopping day of the year. “Why?” It’s a simple and appropriate question. I think the answer is that we are not content people. We do not want to be left out and we don’t want to miss a good deal. People have been trampled to death on this day, but year after year this tradition continues. People line up and spend money they do not have for things that they do not need. Lines start as early as midnight and some stores open as early as 4:00am, or they never even close the day before. There is a buzz of energy in the air, it’s a frenzy, and there is a level of anxiety, an angst.
I am not going shopping today, but I am tempted to. Maybe I am just bored, or discontent. Whatever the reason for this desire within me, there is a discontentment stirring, like something is missing; at least this is what we have been led to believe by the multitude of ads in the media and all the new products displayed. How much is enough? When will we say, “I’m good, thank you; I have enough.” What will bring us the contentment that we need? What is it that we are really looking for? The truth is many of us have all we need and should be content. I know that this is the case with me. I have enough. I am lacking in nothing. I have been blessed beyond what I deserve or need.
Paul was not as fortunate. He was imprisoned consistently and relied on the kindness of others, grace, and hard work to have the things that he needed for even his basic provisions. Paul was beaten on several occasions and had to do without as he waited for the kindness of God and others. Paul was not as rich as us, at least not as we define being rich in our culture, but he was content none the less. Where did Paul’s contentment come from? Did someone bring him all he needed? If so, who? What was Paul’s source? How was he was able to be so content? The answer is that Paul was connected to the source of all things-God Himself. Paul had God’s peace and provisions. Paul trusted in his God and he was lacking nothing. He was content! God was enough for Paul. Paul could do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthened him. Paul’s contentment was God!
Paul lets us in on his secret to contentment in the proceeding verses of Philippians 4: 6-7: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
May we be content with our circumstances; knowing that God has freely given us all we need.
May we be found content in Him,
The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Php 4:10-13
The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Php 4:6-7