Philippians 4:12 “I know what it is to be in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”
The secret to a fulfilling life is contentment. Unfortunately, this is not a character quality that many people in our country possess. We have become used to having all sorts of fancy gadgets and conveniences and when we have to do without it is not a happy day. The funny thing is that some of the richest people are actually the saddest. All their stuff can’t bring them the joy they so desperately want.
The Apostle Paul shared his own personal secret for contentment and joy in the book of Philippians. There were times in his life when he lived a life of bounty, but he also understood fully what it was to have desperate needs – “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength.”
Paul had learned to trust God completely. He understood that everything that came to him or was taken from him was filtered through the loving fingers of his heavenly Father. When he had multiple earthly blessings, he took them as from the Lord. And when he had to do without, he trusted that he would receive the strength he needed to endure from Jesus Christ whom he served.
This past week we experienced this principle on a small scale. After moving Luke into his new apartment we ordered some takeout to share with all who had given their time to help. We prayed and thanked the Lord for good friends, delicious food, and a great place to live. As we prepared to fill our plates, we realized . . . oops! Someone forgot the silverware! But not to worry – we just dug in with our fingers. Have you ever eaten salad and salad dressing with your hands? It is an experience.
The lack of fork, spoon, and knife did not hamper our fun. As I looked around at the few pieces of used furniture, mismatched dishes and cups, and the nine people shoveling food into their mouths with their fingers, I thought to myself, “This is what contentment is!” It’s not about having all the newest and best. It’s about good friends and a God Who provides the strength for all that we encounter.
So whether you are experiencing a life of plenty or not, seek to live a life of contentment. Thank God for what you do have and rely on Him to give you strength even if someone forgets the silverware.