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.

班底浸信教会
每日灵粮
星期一,2021年10月18日
标题: 在任何情况下都知足
讲员:宋国基牧师
翻译:陈劲年姐妹

【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:

“我现在很难满足,因为我嫁给了一个善良但未得救的男人。我一直在想,只要他不是信徒,我就不能满足。但我看到上帝在呼唤我现在就满足。”

另一个女人站起来说: “我是一个单身母亲,独自抚养两个男孩。我看到他们多么需要一个父亲,这让我对上帝感到不满。祈祷我现在能更好地接受这是上帝对我的旨意。”

然后一个男人站起来说: “我想在工作上升职,我们的家人需要这额外的钱。我不得不承认我真的一直在为此抱怨。我需要祈祷才能接受这是上帝对我的恩惠。”

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?

上面两节经文中的保罗可以过得安然自若,因为他可以从上帝的角度来看生活。他专注于他应该做的事情,而不是他觉得他应该拥有的东西。保罗很清楚他的优先事项,他感谢上帝赐予他的一切。保罗已经脱离了非必要的事物,如此他便可以专注于永恒。通常,我们对更多或更好的财物的渴望,实际上是一种填补我们生活空白的渴望。当我们内心空虚时,我们会被什么吸引?我们如何才能在所有情况下找到真正的满足?答案在于我们的观点、我们的优先事项和我们的力量来源。所以保罗说 “我靠着那加给我力量的,凡事都能做。”

在提摩太前书第6章5节中,保罗警告我们要提防那些认为敬虔会给他们带来财富的人。他说知足加上敬虔使我们真正富有。但我们如何在任何情况下都变得满足呢?通过认识到我们没有给这个世界带来任何东西,我们也不会带走任何东西——我们所拥有的一切都来自上帝。

一位早期教会的主教,他是知足美德的杰出典范,被问及他的秘诀。这位可敬的老人回答说: “无非是正确地使用我的眼睛;无论我处于什么状态。我首先抬头仰望天堂,并记住我在这里的主要任务是要到达那里。然后我俯视大地,提醒我死后被埋葬时,只占据其中的一小块地方。然后我环顾世界,观察有多少人在许多方面比我更不快乐。因此我学会了真正的幸福就在我们所有的烦恼结束之处,我有什么理由抱怨。”

关于如何在任何情况下过上知足生活的最后一句话:让您的心远离仇恨,您的思想远离烦恼,简单地生活,少期待,多付出,常唱歌,常祈祷,忘记自我,为他人和他们的感受着想,心中充满爱,散发阳光。这些都是贯穿知足金链中尝试过的环节。

祷告 :
天父,请帮助我们在任何情况下都知足,无论是富足还是匮乏。帮助我们数算我们的祝福,满足于祢已经赐给我们的一切,不要贪图我们并不真正需要但却想要的东西。奉耶稣宝贵的名祈求,阿们。