Daily Devotional

Philippians 4:11

"Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”

I didn’t grow up in a family that had a lot of money. We definitely were not rich, but we weren’t exactly destitute, either. We just didn’t have much and there was rarely a time when we had anything to spare.

I had a roof over my head and most of the time there was food on the table. Sometimes it was just toast with spaghetti sauce on it, sprinkled with some cheese. But it was enough at the time. I never expected more than that.

Over the years, I had learned not to ask my parents for things. Our family didn’t go on vacation. We shopped at Goodwill for clothes, and garage sales were where we purchased most of our household goods.

I remember standing in the W.I.C. line with my mom for cheese. We must have stood in line for nearly two hours until they gave my mom a huge chunk of cheese in a cardboard box. When we got home, she threw it on the kitchen table and started crying. I’ll always remember that moment.

My dad worked hard but he never graduated from high school. So, he never had the luxury of a steady job. I remember each year as a child wondering if my dad was going to get laid-off in December again, because that would determine what Christmas would be like.

Our electricity went out a lot as well. But we had candles. Again, we weren’t destitute. We just didn’t have an abundance.

Of all of my friends, our family had the least money. If my friends went out to the movies, I made excuses. There just wasn’t much extra money.

I made it through college by athletic scholarships, student loan debt, and the skin of my teeth. I lived off off Ramen noodles and baked potatoes with ketchup. One time in college I was getting pretty desperate. One month in particular, I didn’t have enough money for any food or to pay my rent. It was the only time while in college that I asked my dad for money. I asked for $50 and I think he sent me $100. That was abundance!

When I finally graduated college, I landed my first real job. In Beverly Hills, California, of all places. I made $55,000 a year. I bought my first “nice car” and actually had spending money. I wasn’t happier now that I finally had money, but it sure was less stressful.

For the last several years, however, I’ve had consistent employment and have been able to support my family. The housing crash in 2008 hit us pretty hard, but we’ve been very blessed throughout the years.

I’m so grateful to the Lord for His amazing provision!

However, at some point since getting my first real job out of college, I stopped worrying about living in poverty any longer. At some point in my life I moved from being concerned about “need” and now experience “want” on a daily basis. Instead of wondering if I’ll have enough money to buy food for my family, I think about putting a swimming pool in the backyard.

I don’t know about you, but too often these days I speak from want, rather than need. I’m not content with what I have any more.

It’s weird. It’s strange. It’s sinful. It’s something I need to work on. It’s something Jesus died for.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m grateful for what I have, but I also find myself at times wanting more and more and more.

I have work to do in my soul, if you will. I wish I could get to a place like the Apostle Paul when he wrote, "Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”

Content. That’s what I need to focus on. I need to be content. To be content in whatever circumstance I’m in.

I have a lot of work to do in this area of contentment.

But enough about me. What about you? Are you more prone to be content or discontent with your daily circumstances?

We all have work to do.

Please pray for me in this area. Because I’ll be praying for you, too!
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

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