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“I have learned to be content with whatever I have, I know what it is to have little, I know what it is to have plenty.” Philippians 4:11
I grew up in a family where I was the oldest of three brothers. I remember so many of our childhood arguments hinging on the complaint: “He got more than I did!” My brothers and I just couldn’t stand the notion that one sibling would get more than his “fair share” in life. Comparing ourselves seemed to be an obsession with us. (Was this your story in childhood, too?)
Yet even today, I meet so many people who are not satisfied with life! No matter what they have, it never seems to be enough for them and they want even more:…more possessions, more respect, more friends, more abilities, more grandchildren…Like kids, they can’t seem to stand the thought that someone else has more than they do!
But playing the game of comparisons is a losing proposition! Whining “she has more than I do” only sours our lives and the people around us! When we covet what we don’t have, we end up despising all we do have!
That’s why I appreciate the apostle Paul’s timeless wisdom in this letter to the Philippians. Learning to be content with what we have is one of the greatest challenges in life. None of us can “have it all” regardless of what the commercials tell us. Life isn’t “fair” in the way we would like to believe it is when we are children. We all make choices that have certain “rewards” or certain consequences for our lives.
There will always be others whose lives appear more attractive or appealing. Yet in reality, even the people we think “have it all” really don’t. There is always something missing: talents, possessions, looks, personality, children, love, etc…So the sooner we learn to stop comparing ourselves and work at being content, the happier we will be as people. Anything less is childish foolishness.
Prayer: Lord, make us satisfied, appreciative people who are content in plenty and in want! Most of all Teach us not to compare ourselves but to be pleased with who we are, and who we are not. Amen!
Pastor John Lestock