10 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. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
When reading the text for today’s devotional I was struck with the phrasing, “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 was taken aback by the fact that Paul writes about the challenge of being content in both abundance and want. I struggle to be content in my times of want. It is hard not to wish for monetary stability or yearn for better health or fantasize about someone else’s relationship. But while I am often not content it has been easy to follow Jesus during those times of want, that made sense to me. When things are tough I turn to any help I can find. Turning to Christ for help comes almost naturally for me. But what about in plenty and abundance, is there a challenge there? There is for me. Somehow, when things are good, plentiful I delude myself into thinking I made it on my own. The challenge to follow Christ when things are in plenty requires me to follow Christ who calls me to humility, justice and mercy. Following Jesus when we experience abundance albeit monetary, health or relationships takes spiritual discipline every bit as much as when we experience want. Because in abundance or want it is about following Christ to be Christ-like in our daily walk. So in both plenty and want, to follow Jesus means to seek Him, serve Him and thank Him. It means not just being with Him but doing like Him, not just faith in Him but action like Him. To be a follower or disciple of Christ means to be a lifelong learner of God’s words and actions. We must follow as learners and doers of His way. So in plenty and want, I seek to follow Jesus.
Be with each of us
as we continue to learn
how to live out our faith in you
how to practice resurrection
how to bring you glory
how to rest in you
how to love you
In Jesus name