MONDAY, MAY 7
“for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content… I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”
Philippians 4:11-12 ESV
SECRETS OF CONTENTMENT: LIFE LESSONS
At a nursing home in Florida a resident group was discussing ailments. “My arms are so weak I can hardly lift this cup of coffee,” said one. “Yes, I know, my cataracts are so bad I can’t even see my coffee,” replied another. “I can’t turn my head because of the arthritis in my neck,” said a third. At which several others nodded weakly. “My blood pressure pills make me dizzy,” another one went on. “I guess that’s the price we pay for getting old,” winced an old man. “Well it’s not that bad,” said one woman cheerfully, “Thank goodness we can all still drive!”
There are some challenges that growing old can bring. However, one of the advantages of getting older is that life teaches us some important lessons if we are teachable. One of the lessons the Apostle Paul had learned was contentment. Twice in Philippians 4:11-12 he used the word “learned.” This word means to learn by experience, to genuinely understand a teaching and to apply it to one’s life. Life had taught Paul how to be content.
Contentment is not something that comes naturally. Paul said that he had to “learn to be content”. Naturally, we are prone to compare ourselves with others, to always want more than we have, to interpret someone else’s good fortune as coming at our expense and to complain.
I suspect that Paul learned contentment gradually. In the same way we will not just wake up one day feeling content.
How did Paul learn? Surely in God’s classroom, the curriculum offering such classes as “Discipline 101”, “Tribulaton 102”. Most good courses involve a grading system. What grade would you give yourself around contentment? How has your perspective on what’s important changed as you have aged? Pray about any area you believe God may be teaching you how to be content. Ask God to help you listen, believe, learn and apply the lesson.