What does it mean to be content?
For the Greeks, this word meant I am ‘content’ because I am ‘self sufficient’. For a lot of Americans, being self sufficient means also being highly independent, not really trusting anyone else, not really having many meaningful relationships, trusting in my own ability to make things happen.
The apostle Paul used the word, ‘content’ when he wrote the letter to the Philippians. Listen to what he said there:
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” (Philippians 4: 10,11 NKJV)
– Here’s the key in understanding what Paul meant when he used the word ‘sufficiency’. For Paul, ‘sufficiency’ came because Jesus gave him strength. For Paul, what Jesus had done for him was enough, period! How about us?
- I have enough food. I have enough clothing. I have enough materials to do my trade and earn a living. I have enough so that I am able to carry out my day to day life. Whatever circumstances Paul faced, he had learned to accept them and to make the best of them. To be content is a learned thing and a grace of God thing. It does not come naturally to us. Only the Holy Spirit can put it in us.
- And verse 13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” The emphasis in this verse is not on ‘I’. Rather the emphasis is on ‘through Christ’. He is the one who strengthens me. He is the one who will empower me by His Spirit to do what I need to do. I can do all the things that He calls and leads me to do. And the reason I can, is because of Jesus!
God’s enough is sufficient for me:
– My great savior, Jesus is enough for me
– The way that He provides for my daily needs is enough
– His joy and peace are enough
– The way He forgives my sin is enough
– The abundant life He has given me is enough
– The healthy relationships He has given me are enough
– The wonderful family He has given me are enough
If we try to fill our cups with just what we can put in them, they will not stay full. If we ask Jesus to fill our cups with all the vastness of what He has, then we will be satisfied.
Paul was a tent maker. He supported himself financially with that occupation. From the words he wrote in Philippians 4, I believe that he was satisfied with what he could earn by the work of his hands – making and selling tents. He may have also even sleeped in some of the tents that he hand sewed and assembled.
So how do you spell content? C-O-N-T-E-N-T
‘C’ on tent… Take a look at the ‘C’ on my tent.
We also would do well to be satisfied with what the Lord has provided for us and for what we are able to earn by the work of our hands.
Let’s learn to be content!