Summary: True contentment comes only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ
The Secret of Contentment
July 16, 2006
A wealthy employer once overheard one of his workers exclaim, "Oh if I only had a hundred dollars, I would be perfectly content." Knowing that his own money had not given him inner peace, he told her, "Since I would like to see someone who is perfectly contented, I’m going to grant your desire." He gave her the money and left, but before he was out of earshot, he heard her remark almost bitterly, "Why on earth didn’t I say 200?" The boss smiled, for he had made his point that money doesn’t make a person "perfectly contented."
What does it mean to be content? What does it mean to live a contented life?
Webster states that contentment is the ability to rest satisfied, to be positive and well pleased. It is freedom from care or discomfort.
Why are so many people not content?
The good life exists only when we stop wanting a better one. The itch for things is a virus draining the soul of contentment.
We live in a society that wants more and needs more to be happy. We are a society that is never satisfied. We are a society that is left longing for more than we will ever truly find.
Why do we see this so often in our society? People have an unending desire for something more and there is never enough. It is a thirst that is never quenched and hunger that is never satisfied. We seldom want to admit it but we are a lot like addicts. We act like addicts looking for their next big hit or the higher high. We have an addiction to the things of this world and we want more and more to fill our longings and desires. Our problem is not what we have it is what we want that we do not yet have.
10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:10-13
I. The celebration of contentent (10)
Our English word content comes from the Latin term contentus which means to contain. Being content means to be satisified, happy or to be filled.
One of the main reasons that paul writes this letter to the Philippians is to thank them for the gift that they sent to him. I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Many times this phrase has been misunderstood to mean that Paul was giving a rebuke to the church and the language does sound harsh but nothing could be further from the truth. Paul wrote this to show his appreciation and not some rebuke.
The church did not lack the care to help Paul but rather they did not have the opportunity to help Paul. It is not stated what the issue was but there are a couple of possibilities. First, the church may not have known where Paul was at. Paul had been moved several times and shipwrecked at least once. Between the traveling, the complications of traveling and the persecution that the church was experiencing makes it plausible that the church could not locate Paul. Second, the church may not have a had a trustworthy courier to take the gift to Paul. The trip would have been long and sometimes dangerous. It would have been a difficult trip to make and may have been difficult to find someone who was able to go.
Paul rejoices at the renewed communication with the church, which this would not have been the first. There would have been several exchanges of letters or at least information between Paul and the Philippian church.
1.) News about Paul reaches Philippi
2.) Epaphroditus is sent with the gift for Paul
3.) News of Epaphroditus becoming ill reaches Philippi
4.) Word of the concern of the church about Epaphroditus reaches Paul
5.) Epaphroditus carries the letter back to the church
Paul rejoices because God has once again supplied his need. The provision of God is truly awesome and amazing at times.
II. The confidence of contentment (11-12)
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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.