Sunday, May 28
The sin nature skews the meaning of “need.” There are only a few things that are needed to sustain life. Air, food, and water would be at the top of the list. Then there are some needs that depend on circumstances, such as shelter from extreme cold or heat. There are health needs—doctors and medications, etc. The list of real needs is a rather short list. So a lot of things on our need list should be moved to our want list. I need clothing, but I don’t need brand names. I need food, but I don’t need T-bone steaks. I need a place to live, but I don’t need a mansion. I need a car to go to work, but I don’t need a Mercedes-Benz. If you’re wondering where I’m going with this, I’m talking about being content. The Apostle Paul has a superb take on this. Phil. 4:10-13. “I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me, . . . but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. . . I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” There are several significant truths here. 1. God allowed Paul to be in want, even to be hungry. And it wasn’t just hunger. His entire life was one of suffered affliction—stoned and left for dead, beaten, often in jail, and maligned by both Jews and Gentiles. 2. But there ere times of plenty, too. 3. He had to learn how to handle both. 4. God had a purpose for Paul being in need or in having plenty. 5. God is the one that enabled Paul to be content in any circumstance. The learning process is not easy. Maybe you have thanked God for giving you plenty. When was the last time you thanked him for being in need? Both are designed to make us more like Christ and better servants.