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. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 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. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ~Philippians 4:10-13 (ESV)
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. In our culture, this seems to be one of the more famous sayings of Paul. But Paul didn’t write it as a motivational speech for locker rooms or keychains. His focus was on contentment found through the grace of God.
Paul faced many needs while on the mission field. At times he was supported by those around him and at times he supported himself through tentmaking. At other times, such as when he was locked in prison, he was completely dependent on the kindness of others
In all of the ups and downs that Paul faced, he could be content. God was at work, the gospel would spread, and people would be saved. Therefore, he knew the secret of facing plenty and hunger—he would rely upon God’s strengthening grace.
I have heard it said: You are immortal on this earth until God’s work for you is done. That doesn’t mean that we play fast and loose with our lives, but it means that we develop a deepening trust in God’s provision. This is what happened with Paul. As he stayed faithful to the work to which God had called him, Paul found that when he had little then God would supply, and when he had much it was because God had supplied, through whatever means.
Let us, then, seek for the same deep trust in God’s provision. Let us remember that in times of hunger and in times of satisfaction, we can rest content in God because through his strength we can keep pursuing our mission.
New posts from this devotional series in Philippians will run most Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.