Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:16,17 ESV
Picture yourself growing up as an orphan in Mozambique, Africa. Your father has abandoned you and you are raised in an orphanage. Not a luxurious place, well-provided for by a prestigious organization. An orphanage George Muller style, where you don’t know from what place your next meal will come. But you know your provider is the God of the Universe. Exciting, but sometimes a little nerve-wrecking. Our Heavenly Father will provide for us when we pray, but most of the time at the last minute. But never late!
Bruno is an 18-year old young man in Africa. He grew up in an orphanage like the one I described. Every week they pray for God to provide food for the next week. They live by faith!
I heard this testimony through Isik Abla, a Christian evangelist and host of TV and radio broadcasts around the world. You can look her up on Facebook. It touched my heart so much I want to share it with you.
This young man has nothing of material riches, but he has the riches that last for eternity. If he finds a bed for himself for the night he considers himself rich. If he has a corner where he can be alone and uninterrupted, he is rich.
Isik thinks he might not have eaten a full meal in his life, but when she offered to take him out for dinner he refused. He is not used to that life-style. Instead of dinner he would rather have some fruit. When Isik brought him fruit he was very excited! For six months, he had not eaten fruit.
Isik asked him what he needed, what she could pray for. “I have everything,” said Bruno. “I have Jesus!” But he wanted prayer to have a deeper walk with the Lord.
Bruno knows what the real riches are. “I am so happy,” he said. His dream was to be closer to Jesus! This is a young man who has a contentment life-style.
I was so touched by this testimony I spent the afternoon looking at the Apostle Paul and what he had to say about this subject. I’ve made a file of the Scriptures I looked up. You are welcome to use it. One is a WORD file so you can make your own notes.
To print and read: PDF Paul Models Contentment and Gratitude
Contentment in Whatever Situation
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness [gentleness] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. Philippians 4:4-7, 10-15 ESV
We had a couple of pictures hanging on the wall when I was growing up. One talked about Christ being supreme in the home. In fact, I have one myself, to be reminded that Christ is the unseen Guest at every meal that and the silent Listener of every conversation. The other picture had some virtues, one being Contentment. It said that contentment is the crown of the home.
Gratitude and thanksgiving bring joy. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me,” is verse we like to use. Agreed? Did you notice in what context Paul wrote those words? He was talking about being content. He said he could handle both lack and abundance. He could face plenty and he could face hunger. Then he said, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
May I encourage us to practice contentment. Did you notice I said “us”? I’m writing these words just as much for myself. Let’s praise the Lord for his goodness! Let’s be a grateful people.
Bruno in Africa was overwhelmed with gratefulness because of a bag of fruit! He didn’t desire material possessions but to have a deeper walk with Jesus.
What is your desire for this week? For life as a whole?
I WANT MORE OF JESUS!
Here is a contentment exercise I did three years ago:
As I was getting ready for the day I started counting all the things that are “wrong” with my body. That doesn’t sound very spiritual, does it? It’s not a very spiritual activity to get dressed and ready. My body feels fragile, like it could break any minute. Sometimes it feels like a freight-train has run over it. So I started my mental list: damaged nerves, pain in hands and feet, hernia, lack of lymph-nodes, tooth infection… Stop right there! There might be some things wrong, but I immediately made a 180 degree turn and started the list of things that are working.
First things first: I can breathe! I can see, I can hear, I can talk, I can use my hands, my heart functions correctly, my lungs are clear, I can walk (even if it’s not as swiftly as I used to), my liver works, my kidneys do their job, my hair has grown back out from when I lost it, my brain works fine, I’ve got all my intestines and they do their job, I have both my breasts, I still have my teeth, I have my nose intact (I don’t remember anybody punching it), I have all my 200+ bones… That calls for contentment!
Whenever I start feeling sorry for myself due to all the aches and pains, I just need to start counting my blessings and all the things that DO work fine! How about you? Do you have some missing parts? Are some of your parts not working properly? Start making the list of all that works fine and praise the Lord that you can breathe and that your heart pumps the blood through your system.
Bruno? A bag of fruit made his day!
Contentment is the key!