Day 43: Philippians 4:11-13
Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
When I was just a little guy growing up in a tiny town in Kentucky, I would go out to the driveway on spring afternoons and close the garage door to our house. With my baseball glove on one hand and a tennis ball in the other, I would throw the tennis ball as hard as I could off the garage door, and then, pretending I was the Cardinals’ acrobatic shortstop, Ozzie Smith, would run and sometimes even dive to catch the ricocheting ball. I was preparing myself to replace Ozzie someday and be the Cardinals starting shortstop. And one of the reasons I thought I could actually do that was the verse in this passage: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
I understand better now that Paul didn’t necessarily mean that God was going to make me a Major League Baseball player. As you read the scripture leading up to that well-known verse, Paul talks about a very important subject: contentment. It is helpful for us to remember that Paul is writing these words from a prison cell in Ephesus! It takes a special level of maturity to be content even as you are locked away.
The philosophers of Paul’s day knew contentment was important, but they thought it came from within. They practiced a “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” mentality, a mentality that said we ought to be self-sufficient. Paul understood that true contentment in life only comes from a relationship with the living God.
How is your contentment level? Regardless of what the world has taught you, you don’t have to be self-sufficient. You can truly find contentment through him who gives you strength!
Brad Taylor, Executive Pastor