Some years ago, a friend of mine was transferred by his company to Texas. He was married with three school-age children. Being a northern boy, neither he nor his family took well to Texas. He loved his job, but for a variety of reasons, they found it difficult to adapt to Texas.
We never really experienced that “Southern hospitality” you hear so much about, so we found it difficult to make friends. Also, our home was perpetually infested with fleas, roaches, and termites. Then, there was the weather! In our five-and-a-half years there, we had four roofs on our home due to hail damage—I’m talking billiard-ball-sized hailstones!
But finally, one day, my wife and I woke up to the fact that we were malcontent. All we did was complain and it was affecting our lives and relationships negatively in a profound way. So, we determined that by God’s grace, we’d learn to be content to live in Texas.
We bought a popup camping trailer and started camping as a family. The kids brought their friends with them and we made some great memories! And God helped us learn to be content to live in Texas.
You might be surprised that contentment is a learned quality, but the apostle Paul also indicates this when he wrote, “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.” (Philippians 4:11–12)
What was Paul’s secret? He reveals it in the next verse, “I can do all things through Him [Christ] who gives me strength.” (vs. 13) Because of what Paul had written earlier in his letter, I think of contentment as that peaceful state of body, mind, and heart in which we know that in Christ we have everything we need. Therefore, we can be content.
This is also what David meant when he wrote Psalm 23:1, “With the Lord as my Shepherd, I have everything I need.” (author’s paraphrase) Our Lord does provide us with everything we need!
Paul also urges us to give thanks to God in all circumstances. We must experience times of need to learn contentment. And under those circumstances, when we give thanks for what God has provided, we learn that it’s enough.
Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 6:6–11
- In what area of your life are you most prone to discontent?
- Ask the Lord to help you learn contentment as you experience times of need in that area.
Jim Grassi, D. Min.
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5