Summary: When the Apostle Paul says, “I have learned the secret of being content,” it seems to me that he deserves a hearing. (Powerpoint Available - #201)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoint slides used in this sermon are available at no charge. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request - #201.)
ILL. This is reportedly a true story about George Phillips of Mississippi, 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 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 patrol cars 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, counted to 30, & 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.
Within minutes, three squad cars, an armed response unit, & an ambulance showed up. Of course, 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, "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 at any time; 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).
Are you a contented person? Now be honest, are you satisfied with yourself, & with your life? Are you content with your job?
How about your marriage? Are you happy? Do you & your spouse get along well all of the time or just some of the time? Maybe you’re single & you think, “If only I were married, then I would be happy.” Maybe you’re married & you think, “If only I were single again.”
What about your body? When you get up in the morning & look in the mirror do you say, “Oh God, I am fearfully & wonderfully made. Thank you, Lord.” Or do you look in the mirror & say, “Oh my! Help me, Lord!”
Are you happy with your income? Do you feel that you have been paid what you’re worth? Did you know that the average income of a major league baseball player in 2011 is over 3 million dollars a year?
Of course, some baseball stars are being paid millions more than that. But there are also major league ballplayers struggling along on the minimum salary of only $400,000 a year. Are you happy with your income?
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.
He’s getting old. He doesn’t have any money - he once was rich. His health is beginning to decline - he once was strong. He’s in prison - he once was free. Yet he says, “I have learned the secret of being content.”
PROP. There are just 2 major points for us to consider in my sermon this morning. First, let’s talk about the enemies of contentment, & then the secrets of contentment.
I. ENEMIES OF CONTENTMENT
A. The first enemy of contentment is “Unrealistic expectations.”
ILL. Many of our parents grew up during the depression & had very little. And when they married they worked long & hard to get what they had.
But today, when many young people get married, they want everything right now that it took their parents years to accumulate. The level of expectation has changed & many people today just expect everything to be theirs from day 1.
Sometimes people get married & then discover their spouse is not perfect. 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 would be perfect too, once they become Christians. But they find that’s not the case, either. They’re still attacked by temptations, & 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, someone more gifted & talented than you, someone younger or stronger. And you’ll always be discontented if you compare yourself to them.