Monday 18th October 2021
BE CONTENT IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES
Pastor Soong Kok Kee
Philippians 4: 12-13 “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.”
In his book The Practice of Godliness, Jerry Bridges defined contentment as believing that God is good to me right now. After he spoke on this topic at a church, he heard these testimonies:
“It’s hard for me to be content right now because I am married to a good but unsaved man. I keep thinking that I can’t be content as long as he’s not a believer. But I see that God is calling for me to be content right now.”
Another woman rose and said, “I’m a single mother rearing two boys by myself. I see how much they need a father, and it makes me unhappy with God. Pray that I will do better at accepting this as God’s will for me right now.”
Then a man stood to say, “I want a promotion at work and our family needs the extra money. I have to admit I’ve really been complaining about it. I need prayer to accept this as God’s goodness for me.”
Especially during this pandemic, the list can go on and on – that single mother not only struggling to rear her two boys all by herself but also barely able to make her monthly rent payments. That man wanting a promotion will find it hard not to covet a car that isn’t rusty, or that single mother again, how not to envy a woman who doesn’t have to send her children to school in hand-me-downs. Or how, another person who struggles to stretch a paycheck across 2 months, can be content in a world where he is surrounded by wealth?
Paul in the above two verses could get along happily because he could see life from God’s point of view. He focused on what he was supposed to do, not what he felt he should have. Paul had his priorities straight, and he was grateful for everything God had given him. Paul had detached himself from the nonessentials so that he could concentrate on the eternal. Often our desire for more or better possessions is really a longing to fill an empty place in our life. To what are we drawn when we feel empty inside? How can we find true contentment in all circumstances? The answer lies in our perspectives, our priorities and our source of power. And that’s the reason Paul says “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
In 1Tim 6:5, Paul warns us to beware of people who think that being godly will bring them riches. He says contentment plus godliness makes us truly rich. But how do we become content in whatever circumstances? By recognizing that we brought nothing into this world and that we’ll carry nothing out – that everything we have is from God.
A bishop of the early church, who was a remarkable example of the virtue of contentment, was asked his secret. The venerable old man replied: “It consists in nothing more than making a right use of my eyes. In whatever state I am. I first of all look up to heaven and remember that my principal business here is to get there. Then I look down upon the earth, and call to mind how small a place I shall occupy in it when I die and am buried. I then look around in the world, and observe what multitudes there are who are in many respects more unhappy than myself. Thus I learn true happiness is placed, where all our cares must end, and what little reason I have to complain”.
One final word on how to live a life of contentment in whatever circumstances: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, and scatter sunshine. These are tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
PRAYER: Father God, please help us to be content in all circumstances, in plenty or in want. Help us to count our blessings and be content with all that you have already blessed us with and not to covet things we don’t really need but want. In Jesus precious name we pray AMEN.
【腓立比书4:12-13】 “ 我知道怎樣處卑賤，也知道怎樣處豐富；或飽足，或飢餓；或有餘，或缺乏，隨事隨在，我都得了祕訣。我靠著那加給我力量的，凡事都能做。”
杰瑞·布里奇斯( Jerry Bridges )在他的《敬虔的操练》一书中，把满足定义为相信上帝现在对我很好。他在教堂讲完这个话题后，听到了这些见证：
尤其是在这疫情期间，这样的清单还可以继续下去——这位单身母亲不仅难以独自抚养她的两个儿子，而且几乎无法支付每月的房租。那位想要升职的男人会发现很难不贪图一辆不生锈的车；或者那单身母亲，很难不羡慕一个不用穿旧衣服送孩子到学校的女人。或者，另一个努力将薪水延长使用 2 个月的人，如何能够在一个被财富包围的世界里感到满足？