Being content.

“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.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:11-13 

Our culture tells us that ‘contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have.’  If we measure contentment with the ‘stuff’ that we in North America have then we should be very CONTENT.  Sadly, most of the people I listen to are not content with all the things that they have; it is never enough. 

Most people look for contentment by purchasing a new house or another car or a boat, or any number of things that they don’t need online or from a catalogue.  Some people in this world seek to find contentment by sacrificing possessions and living a simple life, free from the temptations of this world.  The attached photo is of the apartment building where my one room apartment was located in Petionville. 

When laundry day is here my memory bank is opened and thoughts of washing clothes in the bathtub and bathroom sink and then heading to clothesline on the roof of the building fill my mind.  While my clothes appeared to be clean, they were never as clean as the women who washed their families’ clothes in the river, or so it seemed to me.  I was content in my living conditions and I imagine that the people living to the west of my apartment on the hillside were also very content as they lived in a house and didn’t have to sleep in the street or under a sheet of metal or plastic. 

My friends, the truth is that real contentment can only be found through Jesus Christ.  You know that as well as I do and also the Christians living in Haiti.  When the Apostle Paul wrote the above passages to the church in Philippi, he was writing this letter from prison.  His contentment, hope, strength and riches were found in Christ.  We should have this contentment today; that our Heavenly Father that empowered Paul to be content in prison, is at work in our lives today and in the lives of all His children throughout this world.  The hymn ‘God bless our native land’ was written by Charles T. Brooks in 1834 and their message seems to be an appropriate way to close today. 

“God bless our native land!  Firm may she ever stand thro' storm and night!  When the wild tempests rave, ruler of wind and wave do Thou our country save by Thy great might.  For her our prayer shall rise to God above the skies; on Him we wait.  Thou who art ever nigh, guarding with watchful eye, to Thee aloud we cry, God save the State! Amen.”  

Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.  Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Amen. 

May God be with you…Jay