Do we know what our needs are? I mean, really? Way back when I was in school, we learned that our basic needs were food, clothing, and shelter. The Declaration of Independence says our inalienable rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Are those our needs?
“I’m pretty sure I need a car and a television and a phone; definitely a phone. I need that specific bed, and that celebrity designed furniture. Oh, I need my coffee and bookstores and money. I realllllly need more money so I can … uhh … so I can help others. Yeah, that’s it. I need money so I can help others.”
Do you really? Need, I mean? As in you would die without those things? Or would you simply be uncomfortable without those things?
Yeah, me too. And listen, I don’t like being uncomfortable. I mean, I adjust the thermostat often when I get too hot or cold, no matter the season.
Before Paul wrote these words to the church at Philippi, he declared that he had learned how to be content with what he had. When he wrote that, he was a prisoner in Rome. Strange to say you’re content then. Oh yeah, some have said it was basically house arrest. That would be kinda like we’re living now, in this moment in time with the coronavirus quarantines. Yep. Except he didn’t get to go to the market or anywhere else. He was at the mercy of others in a city where he was essentially a stranger.
Contentment. Do we have a clue how to be content with what we have? Look at your phone for example. What kind is it? Is it the latest and greatest? When did you upgrade? Are you making payments on it that are three times what your cell bill would be otherwise? Think about that. What wasn’t working on your old one? Oh, I know. Some of you got the new one because the old one stopped working or broke. Did you go for the gold to replace it? I mean, since you had to get a new one anyway, why not just get the best, right?
I won’t say I’m doing this right. Do not hold yourself up to me!
I’m toting around an iPhone 6. That’s several iterations old. Matter of fact, the support from Apple for it is waning. The reminders won’t sync with the new devices. It’s hard to live with this old, outdated piece of equipment! (Not really, work with me here.) I am choosing to be content with it. Heck yeah, I look through the sale ads my provider has to see if I can upgrade at least to an 8, but so far, the price is more than I can pay in full, so it stays in their warehouse and I stay content.
I haven’t used this example to condemn you. Merely to get you thinking. We could apply this to our clothes, our appliances, our cars, our trash cans even. Look at your stuff.
And there it is. Whatever we have, it is enough. It may not be like the neighbor’s. It may not be like what our friends have or even family. But it is what we have and it is enough. Even when it doesn’t feel like enough.
We need to step out of comparison and relative thinking.
We need to trust that Almighty God who designed and created us knows us enough to know exactly what we need and then provide it. He isn’t like us. His capability to remember doesn’t decline with age or distraction. He knows you. And He knows your needs much better than you. He also knows your wants, and sometimes…. sometimes He provides those, too.
Let’s choose contentment today. Read a bit more in Philippians and you’ll see that that choice will also bring peace. Who doesn’t want peace right now?
Coffee, Bible, Journal.