“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
Early last week in Minnesota, we had a frost advisory. Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar, it basically means that the temperature is going to get below freezing overnight. In the summer/fall transition, you should go out and cover your plants to help protect them from freezing overnight.
The news this last week has been littered with reports of farmer’s crops suffering because of the frost that one night.
I find it so fascinating how delicate growing something can be. The frost didn’t kill off weeds and thorny brush, for they don’t require tending to and survive in even the harshest of climates. But it did damage, and even kill, flowers and crops; which farmers have toiled over and now must move on and continue to cultivate what is left.
So it is with learning to be content in whatever situation you are in. Paul didn’t write this letter to the Philippians when he was just beginning his ministry, or even in the middle. He wrote the letter toward the end of his ministry, while in prison. Note that Paul uses the word “learned” in the passage. He was cultivating his contentment in all times and places for years and years with much toil, patience, and trial and error.
Contentment, like all other good things, is something that is learned over time. Like growing a good crop of grapes for making wine; it may take years of harvesting, after initially planting your crop, before it produces good wine. And the longer those grapevines survive and produce good fruit, the better the wine becomes.
Likewise, negative things do not need much cultivation at all. Like the weeds and thorny brush, covetousness and discontent come much easier than contentment.
These past two years, God has cultivated my own contentment and patience. He has taught me through suffering and abundance. I am nowhere near where He wants me to be in my understanding and practice of being content, but I am learning and growing each day.
What is God cultivating in your life? How are you tending to the abundant “crop” that God is trying to teach you to produce in your life? Clean house, pull up the weeds in your life, and cultivate your heart for what God has next to plant in your life.
Think about it …