Philippians 4:10-13

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. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  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.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.


In this 4th chapter, Paul expresses his thanks to the Philippians for their concern about him and their generosity. He gives advice from his own experience as to how to be content.  Contentment is found when one believes that what God has given is enough for every situation. What about us? Have we found contentment with what we have or are we distracted by the things we don’t have?


In the midst of a weekend that provides scores of deals and savings on a wide variety of must-have items, what is it we really need? Today is Small Business Saturday and I don’t want to discourage your support of these important people in our communities by stopping your Christmas shopping just yet.  Just think through what you really need, as opposed to what you might really want. When we get what we want, will we still want it tomorrow? Anything we feel we must have today may become obsolete soon (look in your closets and garage for reference material).


Leaning on his fence one day, a devout Quaker was watching a new neighbor move in next door. After all kinds of modern appliances, electronic gadgets, plush furniture, and costly wall hangings had been carried in, the onlooker called over, "If you find you're lacking anything, neighbor, let me know and I'll show you how to live without it."


I must confess that I am no expert on living without the things I really want.  But I ran across a suggestion this year that I think will help me to be a little more content.


Instead of making a list of all the things you want, make a list of what you already have and love. Make those lists with your family and friends this year.


Gracious God, we give you thanks for all the ways that you have blessed us this past week.  Thank you for the gift of this day.  Help us to truly be content. Help us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you.  Thank you for your gift of love that we know in so many ways: through the gift of family and friends, through the gift of our church, and especially through the gift of your son, for it is in his name that we pray.  AMEN.