Philippians 4:12 “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.”
Fruitless. Insignificant. Just a “medium” in a super-sized setting. Ever feel like that? Like you’re not measuring up?
Feeling like we don’t measure up is a major distraction in our culture.
It’s a mindset that inevitably undermines our sense of significance…the very thing we were created for. Author Brene` Brown has researched this societal characteristic extensively and has concluded ours is the “scarcity culture.” It shouts we’re not good enough, thin enough, extraordinary enough. So no matter how hard we try or how much we succeed, we think we’re falling short of some imagined standard. It keeps us trudging on the treadmill, striving for some sense of satisfaction but always missing the mark. Or if we do meet the mark, the fulfillment we experience collapses in the face of the next challenge.
Nothing robs us of contentment more than feeling that we don’t have enough…enough money…enough success…enough affirmation…enough insight…enough time. As long as our perspective rises from a baseline of insufficiency, we set ourselves up for a life marked with discontentment. So how can we, like Paul, “learn the secret of being content” (Philippians 4:12)?
Paul’s “secret” is revealed in the subsequent verse: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (4:13). He knew true contentment comes from God. Scripture says his divine power gives us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). So the “scarcity culture” turns out to be a hoax. Its steady drumbeat of not enough succeeds only when we believe it. When we focus on what we don’t have more than what we have.
You and I will someday stand before God and be judged for what we have done with what we’ve been given…not for what we’ve not been given. We won’t be compared to Billy Graham in regards to how many people we led to Christ. God is not going to call us losers because we couldn’t sing like Chris Tomlin or think like C.S. Lewis.
You have enough to do exactly what he has called you to do. And you can do it through him who gives you strength. Be content in that knowledge, my friend…and go for it.