Summary: Thanksgiving is impossible without contentment.
Text- Philippians 4:11-13
Philippians 4:10-13 10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
I. Contentment with God’s providence
II. Contentment is a learned behavior
III. Contentment isn’t about circumstances
IV. Contentment is only found in God
V. Obstacles to contentment
VI. Building contentment
There is a YouTube clip making the rounds right now that is very appropriate for this time of year. It’s a short clip of this comedian on the Conan O’Brien show. It’s titled “Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy.” I don’t know if you’ve seen it.
Basically the guy is talking about how there are all these amazing technological marvels all around us, and yet people still complain and whine. My favorite part of the clip is when he talks about how people always complain about their airplane flights. They complain about turbulence or the seat not going back far enough, or having to sit on the runway waiting to take off. Yeah, but You are flying! You are sitting in a chair in the sky! Its amazing!
People complain about the flight taking too long, but you can go from New York to California in like 6 hours…it used to take people years to make that journey, and a bunch of people would probably die along the way.
His point is a great one. Even though life is more comfortable, even though we have some amazing technological breakthroughs, even though so much of what we have around is really is amazing, people are not any happier. In fact we seem to be getting less and less content as a society. We are becoming more and more spoiled and insulated and entitled. The result is a nationwide epidemic of discontentment.
We don’t truly know how to celebrate a holiday like thanksgiving because we have forgotten what it feels like to be genuinely grateful for anything. We think the world owes us something.
Discontentment and ingratitude are some of the ugliest symptoms of humanities sinful pride. And whether you are a believer or not, discontentment is something that we are all guilty of from time to time.
Since this week is Thanksgiving I wanted to take some time to talk about the importance or contentment. How do we become content, how do we stop taking things for granted, how can we find joy no matter what life brings?
One guy who had figured out the secret of contentment was the apostle Paul. In Philippians he talks about this contentment. Follow along as I read Philippians 4:10-13…
Verse 13 is a familiar one to us. It’s one of those Bible verses that has been ripped out of it’s context and applied to anything and everything. However, within the context of the passage we see that Paul is talking specifically about contentment through Christ.
Just for a little background info. The people in the church here have sent Paul a financial gift. They have supported Paul’s ministry in the past, but had not always been able to send him a financial gift.
So verse 10 is Paul thanking them for their financial blessing. He’s saying, thank you for demonstrating your concern for me again…not that you haven’t always been concerned for me, but you have lacked the opportunity to show it in the past.
Paul is thanking them for how they have blessed him. He recognizes that they have sacrificed to help meet his needs. He understands that that unexpected gift from them is really from the hand of God.
So first of all Contentment begins with recognizing God’s providence in our lives. If we don’t really believe in God’s sovereignty or His providence over our lives we will never be content with life. If we see ourselves as victims of circumstance we will be miserable.
God is in control when times are good and blessings are flowing in, and God is in control when times are tough and only hardships seem to come our way. The secret of contentment is in never forgetting that God is in charge.
Paul says, thanks a lot for the gift, I appreciate it, but my contentment doesn’t come from material things. Look at verse 11 again…
So we also see from this passage that contentment is a learned behavior. It’s not one of those things that comes naturally to us. It is not a reflex action. By nature we are complainers. By nature we grumble and whine and argue.