“Content makes poor men rich, discontent makes rich men poor” Benjamin Franklin
I came across this quote the other day. It really struck me as to the truth of it. Especially as we head into Christmas week. As a single-mom, when holidays arrive, it is easy to focus on what we don’t have and on what I can’t give my kids, rather than on what we do have and what I can give them. I talked a little about this in my Father’s Day post this year.
As I read that quote this morning I immediately thought about what Paul says in Philippians 4.
“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 4:11-13
So many times people use vs. 13 to talk about how they can do anything with Christ’s strength and that is true, but what Paul was really talking about is in the verses that precede vs 13.
Being content with what you have is not easy. In fact Martin Luther said
“Contentment is a rare bird, but it sings sweetly in the breast”
This day in age, contentment is hardly seen. Everyone is always looking for the next best thing, the newer this the latest that etc. you get my point. Add to that having something or someone very precious taken from you and it can be hard to focus on what you have.
As I was wrapping presents yesterday, I was going through many different emotions. Mainly gratitude at the way God provides for my children and I, but even in the midst of that gratitude was the sliver of discontent pricking me. The sliver that says, “this isn’t enough, you are not enough and you never will be. ”
When that happens, I need to stop and remind myself that nothing on this earth will EVER be enough unless we have allowed Christ to be our center, He IS enough! He is all that we need and when we have Him we have everything. I believe that was what Paul was really talking about in Philippians 4:13. I can be happy in little because Christ is enough and He gives me the strength to remember that, especially when the discontent I feel is more about me not feeling like I am enough for my kids vs. that what they have isn’t enough.
So no matter what you are putting under the tree this Christmas, whether plenty or little, no matter how much you feel like you are not enough, remember that you don’t have to be enough because Christ is! He gave up all the riches of heaven to come to earth and be born into a life of poverty and in that He made us rich.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9
After all Jesus is who Christmas is really all about. So be content in that knowledge and may that contentment sing sweetly in you this Christmas!