Vol. 4, No. 12
Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. –Philippians 4:11-12
Quite content . . . that is where I want to be.
This section of Scripture is Basic 101 in the Joy of Life course. You will want to read further in this chapter of Philippians, for Paul helps us understand where his mind and heart responds to life. He is just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. He has found the “recipe” for joy, whether full or hungry, hands full, or hands empty. He is a prisoner in a Roman jail (very unlike the amenities of the Chicago jail – if you have not seen the Chicago jail it is well-worth googling the institution).
If Paul was alive today (well, in reality he is!), this is how he might challenge us:
- Contentment is not an economic quality but a spiritual attainment
- Contentment is not a state of account but a state of heart
- Contentment is found in making the most of the least
- Contentment does not depend on what you have or where you are, but who you are
- Contentment . . . In a cemetery in England stands a grave marker with the inscription: She died for want of things. Alongside the marker of that frustrated woman stands her husband’s stone with the inscription: I died trying to give them to her.
- Contentment is realizing that God has already given me everything I need for my present happiness
- Contentment is understanding that if I am not satisfied with what I have, I will never be satisfied with what I want
- Contentment is knowing that the more I release earthly possessions, the more I can grasp eternal treasures
- Contentment is the power of getting out of any situation all there is in it
It is a great blessing to possess what one wishes; it is greater still not to desire what one does not possess. –Ancient philosopher
Is this all not still true today? Where is your contentment? What does the depth of your heart call to you, and when will you get it under control of the Holy Spirit. It is your choice.
Paul: “I have learned by now to be quite content.”