"I ask for the grace to pray and meditate on behalf of my community of faith. May we learn patience, tolerance, compassion, empathy and gentleness. May we abstain from anger, anxiety, compulsive behaviour, discouragement, arrogance, and self-centeredness. May we know and follow Jesus more closely."
10 I rejoice* in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it.* 11Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 12I 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. 13I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress.
1) "...rejoice;" "...learned to be content with whatever I have;" "...In any and all circumstances;" "...well-fed and going hungry;" "...having plenty and being in need;" "I can do all things through him who strengthens me;"
2) I'm not sure why, but this passage resonates deeply with me this morning. In some ways, it feels like a bit of a slap in the face. It is so easy to think when I have plenty that God is with me and when I have little God is absent. I forget that I have had little and felt incredibly blessed at the same time. I wish I'd remember this passage when I'm feeling cranky about resources being lower than I wish they were. These days "low resources" usually refers to time. I've so much that needs doing and so little time in which to do it. Or we have so much that we do as a congregation, and so many people willing to do the work, but so few people making the decisions and running things from above. But, following Jesus entails being well-fed and going hungry, having plenty and being in need: any and all circumstances. I often reflect that the miracle on the hillside when Jesus fed the masses, is not just that the people were fed, but that the people were satisfied. I wish I had a better discipline around being content. In honesty, I have so much to be content with. But how often to I just want/crave more? There is something very settling, just contemplating the word "Contentment."
3) What is the invitation in all this? To exercise a day or two of being "content with whatever I have." To practice contentment. To learn that enough is enough. to simply breath the word, "Contentment."
Breathprayer: "Rejoice... content with whatever I have."