Hi, I’m Jim. I’m not content.
There, I’ve said it. I hope you don’t think any less of me.
There have been times my books have won national awards. There have been times my books have sold negative numbers. (I didn’t know that was even possible! It means more book stores sent them back than sold them.)
There have been times in my life when I’ve bought vehicles with cash. There have been times when I’ve had to hock our car to pay bills.
There have been times when our chest freezer was full to the top. There have been times when the cupboard was bare except for a can of green beans and a box of macaroni and cheese. (“Thank you, Father, a royalty check arrived just in time!”)
There have been times when I’ve been healthier than a horse. There have been times—such as after 42 radiation treatments for cancer—I’ve been sicker than a dog.
And, to be honest, I much prefer the former to the latter!
While “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13) has been applied to accomplishing personal achievement goals, to raising money for the church building fund, and to a thousand other situations, it has nothing to do with those things. (Christ can’t—or more accurately, won’t—make me an Olympic medalist, super model or nuclear physicist.)
What Christ gives us is the strength to be content in all situations! Here’s the context. (And we always get in trouble when we take scripture out of context!)
I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength (4:11-13).
I’m doing a bit better at contentment. I’ve learned that I grow to be more like Christ during the times of need than in the times of plenty. During my “successful” years I certainly didn’t resemble the Christ I was trying to follow. It has only been during my “failure” years that I have come to have a Christ-like compassion for my fellow strugglers.
Christ is giving me strength to be content. (Well, at least to be more content.)
Copyright © James N. Watkins