A Word from Pastor Stephen – May 6, 2020
“Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13 NRSV)
Life is seldom smooth sailing for long stretches of time. Life is always full of so many twist and turns. Unexpected things pop up all the time. We always seem to be dealing with a new crisis. Something has gone wrong at work. You had a fight with a family member. The doctor wants to run some tests. The list can go on and on.
For some people finances are not a concern right now. For others they have no idea how they are going to pay the bills next month. For some people the pantry is full of food. They could stay at home for weeks and be secure. Others are unsure if they will be able to eat tomorrow. Some people have all their family together right now. Others are worried about elderly parents they are unable to even see in person. Our current circumstances can change all the time.
For the Apostle Paul, facing difficulties and hardship was not just a philosophical exercise. He was serious when he writes these words. In 2 Corinthians Paul gives them a list of his hardships. For the sake of the gospel Paul has been in prison numerous times, flogged, beaten with rods three times, received forty lashes five times, been stoned, shipwrecked, been in constant danger, hungry, thirsty and gone without sleep. (2 Cor. 11:16-33)
Yet, Paul can declare that he has “learned to be content with whatever I have.” How can he say this? Better yet, how can we say this in our own life? For Paul, the foundation of everything in his life is Jesus. So no matter where Paul finds himself, or what is swirling around in his life, he is secure and content. Paul knows that he belongs to Jesus. Make the foundation of your life Jesus and you too can declare with the Apostle Paul that you “can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Amen.