I just returned from vacation and am looking forward to being with you all this Sunday, both at church and at the church picnic to follow .
I haven't done a "Thought for the Week" for a bit, so I thought I'd let you in on what I have been meditating on this summer. It's the idea of contentment.
Paul writes in Philippians 4:12, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Paul doesn't say what the secret of contentment is... just that he has learned it. So whats the secret? That was my summer quest. So I read and re read Philippians. I chewed on the whole book again and again.
It was obvious to me that contentment did not mean that a person couldn't be frustrated, or concerned, or even dissatisfied with something in their life, as Paul displays all these emotions in other parts of the letter.
I think the answer is found a few verses early in Phil 4:6 which says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When we are worried, frustrated, irritated, or dissatisfied, if we can learn to come to God, to petition Him, to ask him for his help... and if we can be convinced that he has heard us, that he is trustworthy and that he will respond, we then are in a position to live in peace.
In response to our petition, we can then expect to receive from God what is sufficient for the circumstance we are in. In this way contentment is closely tied with trust (and confidence) in God.
The secret of contentment then is confidence that as we interact with God, that he hears us and responds and that he gives us what is necessary in all circumstances.
What would it be like for all of us to learn the secret Paul had learned?
Grace & Peace