Please take a few minutes to meditate on the words of our passage of Scripture for this morning….
“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know hot to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:10-13)
Contentment is a LEARNED behavior. Look at what Paul says…“I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” When you learn to be content in whatever circumstance you encounter, you will then be able to say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
I like the way the Phillips translation puts verse 13. It says, “I am ready for anything through the strength of the One who lives within me.” Contentment is a gift from God Himself. You don’t achieve it through hard work, willpower or psychological therapy. Contentment comes through Christ. You and I are “ready for anything” because the Christ who lives within us is constantly providing supernatural strength. I’m not content in my circumstances…I am content in my position in Christ!
There is an old “preacher story” that I have used many times to illustrate this point. There was a wealthy man from England who lost his only son in World War II. The son was a pilot in the RAF and he was shot down during the Battle of Britain. Years later, the old man died. He had lost his wife and his only child so he had no heirs. He instructed his attorney that his estate should be auctioned off and the proceeds given to various charities.
As a part of that estate, the old man had a priceless art collection. The auction was arranged and announced. People from all over England came to bid on this priceless collection. On the day of the sale, the auctioneer began by placing a portrait of a young man on the easel. It was explained that the man’s will said that before any of the other pieces of art could be sold…this picture…a portrait of the man’s only son…must be sold first. The crowd was disappointed. The artist who painted the portrait was unknown and certainly nobody there knew the old man’s son. As far as they were concerned…this portrait was of no value.
The crowd was quiet…nobody made a bid.
There happened to be in the audience that day, a man who had worked as a servant for the now deceased man. He actually had known the son from birth. He had watched him grow up and he remembered vividly the day word was brought to his father that the boy had been killed in action.
He thought that it would be nice to have the portrait, and since no one else was interested, he could probably get it pretty cheap. So he offered a bid. Since nobody else wanted the portrait, and since they were eager to get on to the more important pieces in the collection, nobody bid against the servant. The picture was his.
At that moment the auctioneer said, “Ladies and gentlemen, the auction is ended.” The people gathered there were stunned with disbelief!
The auctioneer explained, “The old man’s will further stipulated that whoever got the picture of the son got the whole lot.”
Whoever has the SON has the whole thing! Contentment provided by our relationship with Jesus Christ enables us to say, “I’m ready for ANYTHING because my strength comes from Christ.”