Have you ever had a big event where you expected a lot of people to show up? You planned for a Bible study and had 25 people tell you that they would come. Then, only 5 showed up. You planned an anniversary party for 100, and only 50 showed up. Disappointment.
Getting involved with people can be disappointing. The Apostle Paul was involved with a lot of people. He was dependent on people to give him money to fund his work.
We might expect that when people didn’t give what they had promised, he might be frustrated. But he wasn’t. He had learned the secret to contentment: “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” (Phil. 4:11-12).
Most of us walk around thinking that we would be happy if other people would change. If my kids would act differently, if my spouse would show me respect, if my employer was more understanding, if I had more money, if I had a better car, if I lived somewhere else, I’d be happy.
The trouble with this approach is that things outside of us will rarely match up to our expectations inside us. So, we’ll always be unhappy.
There’s another option. We can adjust to our circumstances. That’s the secret to contentment that the Apostle Paul had learned. Continue reading “The Secret to Contentment”