Summary: Paul’s secret to contentment
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were 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 all this through him who gives me strength.
14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All the Lord’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Begin with a clip from “Leap of Faith”
In Paul’s day, there were “Philosophers” and “Teachers” and snake oil salesmen walking around selling their ideas and wares just as there are today. The presence of TV preachers today and their grasping at money is one of the reasons that people like myself find it hard to ask for support for projects etc.
You can see Paul’s struggle in this statement at the letter – he wants to thank them for the gifts that they have sent without sounding like he is asking for more! It is a bit like thanking your grandmother for a great meal, without encouraging her to put more on your plate. “Oh that was amazing, but I couldn’t eat another bite!”
Paul’s Situation – In a Turkish Prison in Ephesus – you were not fed etc. in prison in those days – you family and friends had to support you, or you might get some scraps every other day.
Paul was in this situation for a while, until Epaphroditus came with the gift from the Philippians.
Contentment is a rare quality these days – we have TV shows, magazines, billboards etc that tell us not to be content with last years model of anything – car, computer, clothes, spouse…
Lack of contentment is a dangerous thing to a Christian – Parable of the seed – the cares of the world and the lure of wealth came and choked the plants
Paul’s secret to contentment in every circumstance:
Not out of individual fortitude like the stoics taught, but because God gives him strength. - 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.