“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.”(Phillipians 4:12 NIV)
These are words from a man who was given 39 lashes five times, a man who was pelted with stones, a man who was shipwrecked three times and spent a night and a day in the open sea, a man who was exposed to death again and again. The list goes on and on.
The Apostle Paul, instead of harbouring resentment to what life had dealt him for the sake of the gospel, proclaimed boldly that he had learned to be content in every situation and admonishes us to learn as such.
However, with the rigours of this world pushing us more than ever to strive to attain more, can we truly be content with what we have? Can we truly be content when it is drummed into our ears day and night to let the sky be our limit? So should I be OK with the low salary I get because I want to be content?
The Webster dictionary defines Contentment as” the state of being satisfied or being happy with what one has.” Other sources define it is a mental or emotional state of satisfaction that is drawn from being at ease in one’s situation, body and mind.
The Bible indeed says a lot about being satisfied with what we have, who we are and where we are going. Of course the Bible doesn’t say that we should be satisfied so as to not want change, but to be satisfied for now until God brings that change we so earnestly seek.
As believers, we ought to learn to be grateful to God for what he has placed in our hands regardless of how small they are. Knowing who God is and how He has been faithful to supply the needs of His people in the past will help grow our confidence and trust in Him for the future.
Ellen White puts it this way, “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.”(Life Sketches of Ellen White, pg 196)
Jesus said,”Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? (Matthew 6:25 NIV)
Worrying about the things we lack brings about discontentment and shows our distrust and ungratefulness towards God. We ought to stop dwelling so much on the things we don’t have and be thankful for the things we have.
Paul reiterates this in Philippians 4:6“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Therefore, in whatever situation we find ourselves,let us be thankful to God and trust him to make things better. If we have nothing to be thankful for, let us thank him for the gift of life and the gift of salvation.
Strive to be the best you can be, but with a grateful heart every step of the way.