This is our weekly guest post written by my mother, Estelene. Be blessed as she shares her heart through a devotion on contentment.
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
I feel it is necessary to evaluate a little bit of the background concerning the above scripture. If you read 1 Corinthians 9:11-18, Paul had rejected the church of Corinth’s monetary gifts because he didn’t want to be accused of preaching only to receive money from them. He preached God’s Word because he was called by God. He reminded them that it is the church’s responsibility to meet the needs of God’s messengers.
But he accepted gifts from the church in Philippi because of their willingness to give and his need. I encourage you to read in its entirety Paul’s writing in Philippians 4:10-20. Please note verse nineteen where he says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” I realize Paul is directing this passage of scripture to the church and their responsibility to provide for their ministers. But I also realize that God has something to say to all of us, personally, in our everyday lives. That is the intent of this devotion.
I need to make it very clear though that my only desire is for this devotion to give God all the glory. The focus should be on his goodness and love. I am just a vessel from where God’s message can flow.
I went through a very trying season a few years ago.
It wasn’t for a few months, it was for a few years. To make a very long story short, I was not employed, and I had depleted my savings account, retirement account, and checking account. I lived with my daughter for two years, and then I hopped around from family member to family member. Eventually I ended up on my son’s couch.
Throughout this period of time, God provided me with enough money to pay my car insurance and cell phone bills. Through a roundabout way, I had the opportunity to work at a church camp which provided me with some income for a few weeks.
But the time came when my checking account was empty and so was my belly. I did not let my son know that I had no food to eat nor did I share my need with church friends. Each day my food intake became a few outdated, stale crackers that were given to me at the end of the camp season.
I remember sitting on my son’s couch reading my Bible.
The words from Paul in the above scripture came to my mind. As my stomach ached from lack of food, I began to sob. It was not out of pity, but out of thankfulness. I praised God and thanked him for the opportunity to know what Paul meant when he said he had learned to be content in every situation, whether well fed or hungry. It was such a precious moment. It was a humbling moment.
I had one dollar in my purse, so I went to the Dollar Tree and searched for one item that would give me nourishment over a period of time. I chose a small jar of peanut butter. Each day one meal consisted of plain crackers, and the other consisted of crackers with a thin layer of peanut butter.
I did not have money for gas so I walked wherever I needed to go. On Wednesday evenings, a friend of mine gave me a ride to church. Of course she had no idea why I asked her if she could pick me up.
Finally a godly woman from church gave me a gift card from Applebees. I would walk to the restaurant and choose a meal that I could take home and eat for several days. The first meal I bought was a hamburger with fries. With a knife I divided the burger into thirds. Then I separated the fries into thirds. Each day I feasted on one-third portion of the hamburger and one-third portion of the fries. I was able to eat nine meals out of one $25 gift card.
I could go on and on, and I may decide to do so in future devotions. God took care of me then, and He continues to take care of me. But, He put everything in perspective. Most of what we have, we do not really need. They are luxuries. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the good things in life, but too often we become obsessed with worldly possessions. Sadly enough, the more we have, the more we want. I believe this is displeasing to God.
If you have never been there, you have no idea how your trials can become blessings. As I reminisce, I am so thankful for those hunger pangs. I would not take one minute of those few days back if I could. I now have a more intimate relationship with my Lord and Savior. I love him more than anyone or anything else in this world. I know deep in my heart that God is with me and will provide all my needs. That takes so much pressure off me because I don’t have to worry about my life. I have had to lean on the words written in Luke 12:22-31 many times to remind myself Jesus’ promise to take care of me.
How has He blessed me you ask?
I now reside in a large, beautiful apartment, and I have more than enough food to eat. If that was not enough, my place of employment provides a meal for me every day I work. My 15 year old car is no longer parked outside my apartment building. In its place is a brand new Nissan Versa. I have been able to help others who are in need. God’s blessings have been bountiful!
He loves me, and He loves you. He knows what you need. Do you trust him? I mean do you really trust him? I will warn you though that sometimes He strips us of everything including our pride, to show us that everything we have and need comes from him. That is okay though. He will be there to feed you if you are hungry, clothe you if you are naked, and give you shelter if you are homeless. He is a good God. He is a gracious God.