“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. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:11-13.
We live in a land where we can get almost anything that we desire, and much of this can be achieved through the click of a mouse, or a simple phone call.
And yet many of us are not satisfied. We want a better house, car, or an extended vacation. Having said this, I do know that there are many among us, who do suffer the basic needs of life. There are some who can’t even feed their families, or have the basic necessities of life, and so learning contentment has been replaced by survival.
With contentment comes a sense of peace and fulfillment that isn’t found in anything we have acquired. This type of contentment is happy enough with the simple furniture, or bed that we have to sleep on.
Contentment doesn’t leaf through catalogues looking for the newest and largest television, or ornate place settings for our dining table. It doesn’t drool over the Mercedes that just drove by, or covet the neighbor’s house.
And yet if fortune pays us a visit, one doesn’t cast it aside, but he realizes where these things come from. For having prosperity is certainly not a bad thing, nor does poverty cause one to be more “spiritual.”
For one could revel in their poverty thinking that they are even better others, because of how they’ve sacrificed and learned the value of self-discipline. God blessed Abraham and others with wealth, and yet they learned the valuable lesson of not letting what they had control them.
We are told not to seek riches, for eventually they would rust, or become filled with cobwebs.
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal,” Matthew 6:20.
“But when we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, then “all these things would be added unto you,” Matthew 6:3.
But what are those things that would be added unto us? Are they just the “things” that would fill up our houses? Perhaps they are things that are much more valuable then these; perhaps they are the types of things that are everlasting.
Of course, God wants us to not be begging for food, and we should know that He would meet our every need. But perhaps we sometimes misunderstand what “prosper” really means. Being prosperous doesn’t mean that we are wealthy with things, but a prosperous soul walks in truth and love.
One is certainly prosperous when they are in good health. As the old adage says, “When you have your health you have everything.” And certainly if one doesn’t have good health, then it becomes difficult to work, live joyfully, and be salt to those who are around us.
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth,” 3 John 2:2.
Certainly Paul and disciples suffered persecution in ways that most of us never will, and yet, I would imagine that they indeed did, learn how to be content. Their contentment was experienced as they walked beside Jesus on the road, and listened to the wisdom that poured out of His lips every day and hour. They witnessed miracles and compassion beyond the measure of this earth, and found out soon enough how frail they really were.
I’m sure they were content with the meals that they ate, whether it was fish, or bread, or some other food that was placed before them. They weren’t anxious to purchase the most exquisite copper or brass items in the market place. But I’m sure there were times when their sandals wore out, and they needed a new pair.
There are basic things that we need for our families and for ourselves. We need basic shelter and a roof over our heads. We need food and water, and a means to make a living in whatever way we can, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.
He will bless the work of our hands if we honor him in our speech and in our daily living. And yet, we find out soon enough, that we live in a world that is filled with much complexity and frustration.
We toil in the dust just to make a meager living for ourselves and for our families. But God makes a way even when there doesn’t even seem to be a way at times. I certainly have found this to be the case.
“You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
~ Stephen Hanson
Stephen Hanson of In His Truth Ministries came to the LORD is a special way in 1975 and has prophesied regularly since. In these end-time birthing pangs we are reminded that judgment must first begin with the household of God. Will we be prepared and ready?