I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:10–13, ESV
Contentment. In a world that is seeking the next best thing and striving after a better vehicle, better house, bigger paycheck, nicer vacations, and on and on, this is one thing that seems to allude many people. How often do we hear, “If only I had this, then I would have it made”? The greater problem is even if the “if only” comes, there will be another waiting in the wings. When we find our contentment in the things of the world, we are often found wanting. The vehicle gets old and worn out. A new developer builds a better home with all the appliances that you have always wanted. A new thing-a-ma-bob comes out that is so much better than the last one. It is never-ending. It can become exhausting. Sadly, even in the Church, we find this infection creeping in. “If only we had more families…if only so and so would come back…if only…if only…if only.” God wants us to let go of “if only” and see all that He has done and is doing, being thankful for all that is and not seeking out what isn’t. As a pastor, I can think of all my if-only’s and how much time has been wasted striving for that instead of being content with what God brings, and it is tiresome. It is much better to look at all that God has blessed me with and sit in thankfulness. I am thankful for all the great people that God has placed in my life and how He has gotten me and my family through such great hardships. It isn’t that God has ever given me more than I can handle, but He has always carried me through the hardships that I have faced. The same is true for all His people. When we face the struggles that the world places before us, we can turn to Him and find joy because He is always near to give us the strength we need to face those struggles, and He helps us leave those if-only’s behind.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.