Would you like to learn the secret of contentment?
Paul grew up in the lap of luxury. He had the best schools, the grandest home. He had the promise of power, position, and prestige as he grew into manhood. He was living the dream.
Then on the road to Damascus, he met Jesus. Everything changed. Everything.
For three days Paul sat with scaled eyes in the house of a man named Judas. He didn’t eat. He didn’t drink. For three days, he sat in darkness until, at the hand of a disciple named Ananias, Paul experienced his personal resurrection.
“Brother, the Lord Jesus has sent me to you so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
The stone rolled away, the scales fell from his eyes, and Paul emerged from his personal tomb into new life.
What Ananias knew and what Paul would learn is that he must suffer greatly for the sake of Jesus. (Acts 9:1-19)
And he did suffer.
- Beaten with fists, beaten with whips, beaten with rods.
- Stoned, shipwrecked, adrift at sea.
- In danger from rivers, robbers, Jews, Gentiles.
- Danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers.
- Toil, hardship, sleeplessness, hunger, thirst, cold, exposure.
- And not to mention … concern about all the churches he established. (2 Corinthians 11:23-28)
But somehow suffering didn’t make Paul bitter. Instead, suffering became his classroom for learning the secret of contentment.
When we face the loss of reputation because we are committed to pleasing God rather than pleasing me, we are learning the secret of contentment.
When we face financial hardship because we are supporting God’s Kingdom rather than building our own, we are learning the secret of contentment.
When we face hunger because we are choosing to identify with our brothers and sisters around the world who have no choice but to be hungry, and thirsty, and homeless, we are learning the secret of contentment.
Will you choose learn the secret of contentment in the classroom of suffering?
And then when our Thanksgiving table is overflowing with bounty … we receive the blessing from the hand of God. All things through Christ.
When the bonus comes through … we turn to Christ and thank him for his provision. All things through Christ.
When the masses are singing our praises … we receive the accolades with grace and point to the one who gives the gifts. All things through Christ.
Will you choose to embrace the secret of contentment even in times of plenty?
In the classroom of suffering, we learn that our contentment doesn’t depend upon our circumstances. Contentment becomes deeper than situational. And we have a secret that enables us to be content regardless of plenty, regardless of want.
The secret learned in the classroom of suffering? You and I … we can do all things through Christ.