Word for Today – Philippians 4:11

Be Content

Contentment. How many of us really know the feeling of contentment? I promise, this is not a trick question, but it may be hard to answer with a straight yes or no.

Paul talks about contentment in Philippians 4. Interestingly enough, this topic shows up in the midst of his teaching on rejoicing, pure things, and need.

“I have learned to be content with whatever I have” (Philippians 4:11 NRSV).

Paul’s thoughts develop clarity when he follows his proclamation with a short list of things he has experienced in his lifetime:

  • Having little
  • Having enough
  • Going hungry
  • Eating plenty

It seems that prolific writer of the New Testament experienced many extremes first hand. Maybe we’ve lived similar circumstances. Maybe we haven’t. I can only speak for myself. I am blessed that I have usually had enough. I’m sure there are people living a more abundant life than me, but I really have few needs and don’t live extravagantly. I have a roof over my head, plenty to eat, and ample clothing.

However, I must also admit that my antennae are always on the look out for the next cute pair of shoes that will adorn my feet. I often lament the fact that I could use a little more square footage in my humble abode. And, I’m always looking for ways to make my next article better than the last. It’s not much, but does that mean I am not content? If you experience similar thoughts, does that make you a malcontent?

Maybe, and maybe not. When it comes to shoes, I don’t already have a hundred pair crammed into my closet. Plus, I shopped around for two years before purchasing my last pair of boots. Shoes don’t consume my life. Neither does the fact that I live in a “cozy” house; there are many days I am extremely thankful for such a charming home. And, even though I’m not a published author, I don’t feel like a failure. I like the current projects God has laid before me.

There is a difference between dreaming big and being consumed by a desire for more. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve yourself or better your circumstances, but always remember to appreciate what God provides at any given time. Paul also encourages us to rejoice in the Lord always (Phil 4:4) and think on the things that are worthy of praise (Phil 4:8-9). When we are content, rejoicing, and thinking on the right things, then we will have the peace of God and better understand his concept of contentment.

Word for Today: Dream big and strive for more, but learn to be content.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, January 6th, 2011 at 2:38 pm and is filed under Philippians, Word for the Day. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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