Christians shouldn’t be picky eaters. Whether we sit down to a $200 meal at an expensive restaurant or a $5 value meal at a fast-food restaurant, God wants us to practice contentment. One of the godliest Christians, the Apostle Paul, knew how to be happy under all circumstances. If you invited him over for dinner and served top quality beef loin, he would be just as happy as if you served him tube steak (a hot dog). He could be just as happy by himself as when he was with a crowd. He knew how to live with abundance and how to make do with little or nothing. No matter what happened, he was content. What was his secret?
The Bible tells us Paul learned to be content, but I’m afraid he had to learn it the hard way just like we do. Contentment doesn’t come naturally to us. We have to experience what it means to do without first. Things we might otherwise take for granted have to be taken away from us. The easy road sometimes has to be bulldozed so our feet can get used to walking on the rough road. We need our good times sprinkled with bad times so we will appreciate them even more. Then when we’ve lost our comforts, we find Jesus is everything we need. This is real contentment.
Maybe you lost your job last month. A good friend may have recently died. You have seen the fickleness of people as they praise you one day and slander you the next. Medical expenses have brought you from wealth to poverty. Can you repeat Paul’s words and say wherever, whenever, and whatever the case may be, you are content? Contentment and peace begins when your reliance upon people, things, and circumstances for happiness ends. With Jesus, you can have it even if your plate is empty.
Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder