I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:10-13 (NIV)
We so often have a great misconception of where true contentment lies, Amen? It is not found in more money, more status, more things, more education or any other worldly “more” you can think of. There are a plethora of others but for brevity sake, only a few are listed here. Seriously, when is enough, enough? Spurgeon stated: “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.” Indeed, my Daddy used to say: “If you cannot be happy where you are, you will not be happy anywhere.” We always take ourselves with us to every place we go, right?
Further, no created thing was ever meant to bring us lasting contentment and perfect peace – the peace that passes all understanding. Things were created for our pleasure not for our passion. And they will never fully satisfy the human soul but will always find us wanting for more – an unquenchable thirst or an unsatiable lust as the Bible aptly describes it. Our pride pushes for them and they no longer are pleasant rather they become elusive pursuits because we can never attain to the heights – the perfect plateau promised. And God tells us to change our focus. Lasting contentment is never found in these things – it is found in Him alone.
The Apostle Paul is quite clear in our passage for today. He learned the secret of being content whatever the circumstance God placed him in. He was familiar with both plenty and want yet His circumstances did not affect the inner contentment and peace that he enjoyed. Paul attributed his contentment to a divinely bestowed sufficiency which is available to every child of the King as well. When one is satisfied with Jesus, everything else is a mere cherry on top – nice, but not necessary. Another bonus (as if we needed more) on the sufficiency of Christ is that we become people that others actually want to be around – no longer needing others or something “more” to fill our empty cups. We overflow with the Living Water so that others may be blessed through Jesus in us. He both satisfies and completes us.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you. Psalms 84:11-12 (NIV)