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The Secret of Being Content

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for 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 all this through him who gives me strength.”1  


Two old friends met each other on the street one day. One looked sad and almost on the verge of tears. His friend asked, “What has happened to you, my old friend?” 

The sad fellow said, “Let me tell you. Three weeks ago, my uncle died and left me forty thousand dollars.” 

“That’s a lot of money,” said his friend. 

“But you see,” the sad man continued, “two weeks ago, a cousin I never knew died, and left me eighty-five thousand dollars, free and clear.” 

The friend replied, “That sounds like you have been very blessed.” 

“You don’t understand!” the sad fellow interrupted. “Last week my great-aunt passed away. I inherited almost a quarter of a million from her.” 

The friend was really confused and said, “Then, why are you so sad?” 

“This week I didn’t get anything!” 


Have you ever taken God’s blessings for granted? I know I have at one time or another! Like the man in today’s story, it is easy to start expecting these blessings and act as though we are entitled to such blessings. But what happens when these blessings are taken away or we find ourselves in difficult situations? Often, we are quick to complain and question God as to why this happened.  


Paul is a great example of what it looks like to have plenty and nothing. His circumstances while writing today’s passage were miserable, as he was shackled in prison. Yet he writes, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation...” Paul had learned to focus more on what he had instead of focusing on what he didn’t have. He focused on the forgiveness he had received in Jesus, on the eternal life awaiting him, and the love and grace God had given him. He had learned that what he had in Christ was far greater than the things he didn’t have here on earth. When we come to the realization that this life is temporary (including the material possessions we may enjoy), we can see whatever happens as part of our preparation for eternity. When we focus more on what we have in Christ and less on what we don’t have here on earth, we, too, can learn the secret of being content knowing that whatever God gives us or doesn’t give us, we can face every circumstance because He will be our strength.  


Suggested prayer: Dear God, allow me to count my blessings, big and small, and never take them for granted. I ask that you help me live focused on all the things I have in you... things that are eternal instead of temporary. Whether I have plenty or nothing, I pray that I, like Paul, can learn the secret of being content in you. Thank you for being my strength in every situation. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen. 


  1. Philippians 4:11-13 (NLT).  

All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.