We have been taking a slow journey through the book of Philippians together as a congregation. In looking ahead toward the next few messages I once again marveled at the profound jewels yet to be discovered. Philippians 4:12 “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.” All I can say is Wow! Arriving at a place of contentment is a rare attribute. The other day I was talking to a dear friend in Philadelphia he is on his third girlfriend in the span of a year…he went on to tell me how dissatisfied he is a work…and how his anxiety level is keeping him up at night. Contentment and peace are lost words…lost realities to him. Contentment has yet to find a place in his life. But what about our lives?
Imagine for a moment that contentment is a street vendor, roaming the streets, looking for a home to dwell, but seldom finding an open door…and invitation to “come in.” This street vendor called contentment moves from house to house, knocking on doors, offering his wares: a smile of acceptance, an hour of peace, a sigh of relief, a feeling of stillness. But his goods are refused or seldom taken. We are after all too busy, too assaulted with life’s realities to be content. “Not today, thank you…I have too much on my plate…too much occupying my mind…too much to do…too many achievements or demands to be met….”
So the “contentment vendor” moves on. When asking him why so few welcome him to come into their homes and lives, his answer is telling. “Because I charge a high price. My fee is steep. I ask people to trade in their schedules, frustrations, anxieties, and their chaos. I demand that they put a torch to their sleepless nights and fourteen hour work days. I ask that they trade in their tendency to obsess over things they can’t control and embrace serenity. I ask them to hand over their own tendencies to overthink and over analyze through their own sensibilities and accept my wisdom. You would think I would have more buyers. But they seem to prefer their ulcers, headaches, and constant restlessness.”
How contrary to the message of Philippians 4:11…I have learned the secret of contentment…May HIS secret become our lived and settled reality!