Summary: When the Apostle Paul says, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,” it seems to me that he deserves a hearing. (Powerpoint Available - #201)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(REVISED - 2018)
(PowerPoint slides used in this sermon are available at no charge. Just e-mail me at email@example.com with your request - #201.)
ILL. This is reportedly a true story about George Phillips of MS, who was going to bed when his wife told him that he had left the lights on out in his workshop. George went out to turn off the lights but saw through the window that there were people in there in the process of stealing his tools.
He immediately went back into the house & phoned the police, who asked "Are they inside your house?" George answered, "No, they’re out in my workshop." The officer replied that all the officers were busy right now, & that he should simply lock his door & a patrol car would be sent out when one was available.
George said, "Okay," hung up, stayed right where he was, slowly counted to 30, & then phoned the police again. "Hello, I called you a minute ago because there were burglars in my workshop. Well, you don't have to worry about them now because I've just shot them all." Then he hung up.
In less than 5 minutes, three squad cars, an armed response unit, & an ambulance showed up. And the police caught the burglars red-handed. But one of the officers said to George: "I thought you told me that you had shot them!"
To which George replied, "And I thought YOU told me that there were NO officers available!"
Now, I would NOT recommend trying this to get the attention of the police; but I did use this story to grab your attention this morning. (Adapted from Sermon Central)
Listen to these words of the Apostle Paul written while he was in a Roman prison: “I know what it is to be in need, & I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any & every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12).
Do you consider yourself a contented person? Are you satisfied with your life? Are you content with your job? Do you & your spouse get along well?
Or maybe you’re single & you think, “If only I were married, then I would be happy.” Or maybe you’re married & you think, “If only I were single again.”
When you get up in the morning, do you look in the mirror & say, “Oh God, I thank you for making me the way that I am"? Or do you look in the mirror & say, “Oh God! I need help!”?
Are you happy with your income? Do you feel you have been paid what you’re worth? Are you aware that the average income of a major league baseball player this year is nearly 4 & 1/2 million dollars?
Of course, some baseball stars are being paid millions more than that. But other ballplayers are struggling along on the minimum salary of only $545,000 a year.
When the Apostle Paul says, “I have learned the secret of being content in any & every situation…” it seems to me that he deserves a hearing.
Paul is getting old. He doesn’t have much - yet once he was rich. His health is beginning to decline - but once he was strong. Now he’s in prison - but once he was free. Yet he says, “I have learned the secret of being content.”
PROP. There are 2 major points I want us to consider this morning: The Enemies of contentment, & then the Sources of contentment.
I. ENEMIES OF CONTENTMENT
A. There are several enemies of contentment, & the first is “Unrealistic expectations.”
ILL. Many of our grandparents grew up during the great depression & had very little. And when they married they had to work long & hard to get what they needed.
But today, it seems when many young people get married, they expect to have everything from day one that it took their parents years to accumulate. The level of expectations has changed!
Again, sometimes people get married & then discover their spouse is not perfect. Or they go to work, & discover that their boss is not perfect, & their friends aren’t always perfect, either.
Perhaps they become Christians, thinking that Christians are perfect & that they, too, would be perfect once they become a Christian. But they find that’s not the case, either. They’re still being attacked by temptations, & sometimes Christians do sin.
So there is disappointment & discontent simply because of “unrealistic expectations.”
B. A 2nd enemy of contentment is “Unfair comparisons.”
When you compare yourself to others, you’re sure to find someone else more attractive, or more gifted & talented than you, someone younger or stronger. And you’ll always be discontented if you're constantly comparing yourself to them.