I’ve been taking a gratitude-type class for the last few weeks, and we’re studying several different Bible passages about thankfulness. This one stood out for me this week:
Philippians 4:11-12 (NIV)
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.
“… for I have learned to be content…” Have you thought of being content as something you had to learn? Few of us do. We usually believe that once we get to a certain place in life, you’ll be content. But learning contentedness? If we’re lucky, we grasp this concept early in life, because like anything, the ability to be content is a muscle that gets stronger and stronger the more it is exercised and nourished.
“… whatever the circumstances.” That’s amazingly powerful, isn’t it? It speaks to the very heart of gratitude. Gratitude and thankfulness in the face of tragedy and heartache. Whatever happens.
On some level, I have been content since I was young. I think seeing my father struggle with an addiction made me see early on how useless striving for “that perfect moment when you have everything you want” is. The only way to get what you want is to want the right things. For me that means a God who loves me. Everything else falls into place after that.