“I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13
This past Sunday we finished up a sermon series on the book of Philippians, focussing on chapter 4. The verse above is a portion of that chapter, though the whole section is beautiful (read it!). Paul is writing this letter from a Roman prison and yet his words aren’t of despair but of joy, hope and encouragement.
The Thanksgiving Holiday is a beautiful time of reflecting on being thankful for the blessings that surround us. It leads us to conversations about contentment and what it means to be satisfied. It is somewhat ironic that on a holiday that is supposed to be a celebration of our contentment, our thankfulness, we stuff our stomachs beyond comfort and scour sales adds for the greatest bargains of things we want but probably don’t need. Perhaps this is our idea of being thankful- we are grateful for the abundance and for having means to get more, but that is not the secret that Paul is talking about in his letter. Paul says he has the secret to contentment and that it does not lie in what we have or possess but it is found in God. God is near and God provides us the strength we need to get through even life’s toughest circumstances: imprisonment, sickness, the death of someone we love, rocky relationships, the dullness of routine, loneliness… the list goes on.