In one of the last books he wrote, the Apostle Paul said “I’ve learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in” (Philippians 4:11). I find that amazing! Especially when you consider his living conditions when he wrote those words. He was a prisoner in chains under house arrest in Rome.
Now I don’t know about you, but when a recent sickness kept me at home for five days, I’d had it. I felt like I was in jail, and I wanted out.
Paul was confined to a rented home where he was under Roman guard for a couple of years. But if you had dropped by and asked him how he was doing, his answer would have been…
“Fine. Seriously. I’m fine.”
Fine? In spite of being held under house arrest for over two years?
Actually Paul was more than fine. He was joyfully content. He was living out what he told others to live out.
“If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”
1 Timothy 6:8
Paul’s checklist for contentment: :
That’s it. Two items. Does your contentment checklist look like that?
Dave’s recent checklist for contentment:
- Frozen yogurt
- Comfortable clothes
- More time off
- A better golf score
- Owning a home in Mountain View (Like the one that’s for sale right now across the street for 1.8 million, so we can walk away with a million dollar profit like our neighbors will)
That last item on the checklist was my discontentment wake-up call. It was followed by this conversation in my head…
“Hello Dave. This is God – your creator and provider. I can see that you’re coveting your neighbor’s stuff right now. You know how that makes me feel? Like you’ve slapped me in the face. Like you’re unhappy with what I’ve provided; with what I’ve given you. Like you don’t trust me to take care of you in the future.”
“Well God… I guess I’m still learning to be content.”
“Yes. Yes you are. So today I’d like you to do something for Me. Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t have or on what you think you’ll need for the future. Enjoy what I’ve provided for today. Trust Me to take care of you in the future.”
So that’s what I’ve been focusing on. I’m still learning to be content. I’m not where Paul was. But I think I took a step forward in the right direction this week.