To Be Content

“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11)

Plato hit the nail on the head when he observed that “wealth is the parent of luxury and indolence, and poverty of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent.” How true it is that regardless of the circumstance, many are never content. They are discontented with their financial status, discontented with their marriages, and discontented with their life circumstances.

Contentment is not so much a matter of what you have as it is being satisfied with what you have. It means to have an inner satisfaction regardless of the circumstances.

Contentment is a virtue that is hard to acquire. It must be learned. This was true of Paul. He suffered through incredible adversities. Yet the apostle knew “how to be abased, and . . . how to abound” (Philippians 4:12). Paul was content “everywhere and in all things” because he had learned the secret. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (verse 13; cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9; 2 Timothy 4:17).

When we learn what Paul learned, we will be content. We should also remember that there is more to life than material things. “Now godliness with contentment is great gain . . . and having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (1 Timothy 6:6–8). Our Father “is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5–6). —Mark Hanstein

Revive Us Again

Deuteronomy 10:12–13

  • Right attitude: Fear the Lord your God.
  • Right direction: Walk in all His ways.
  • Right affection: Love Him.
  • Right behavior: Serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
  • Right action: Keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes.

God has our good at heart.

Faith Comes By

Marshall Keeble, in commenting on Romans 10:17 and how faith comes, said, “If I tell you I am coming by train, don’t go to the bus station to meet me.” Saving faith comes in only one way, and that is by hearing the word of God. Do not expect it to come any other way—miraculously, by osmosis, by happenstance. —Hugh Fulford, Hugh’s Views

Believe and Be Pickled

Jacob Ditzler (1820–1903), famous Methodist preacher and debater, and John S. Sweeney (1834–1908), gospel preacher, were in a debate on the biblical action (mode) of baptism. Ditzler contended that according to the dictionary “sprinkle” was a secondary meaning of “baptize.”  Sweeney came back and pointed out that a secondary meaning of “believe” is “to have an opinion,” and that a secondary meaning of “saved” is “to be pickled.”  Based on secondary meanings, he then offered this rendition of Mark 16:16: “He that hath an opinion and is sprinkled shall be pickled.” —Hugh Fulford, Hugh’s Views

Bring Those Babies to Church

My heart goes out to the parents of small children. I know first hand the problems they face (and my wife knows even better). Training a toddler in the way he should go is a constant job, a continuous battle, a seven-day-a-week task, not to mention an awesome responsibility. 

After six days of their whining chorus at home and three hours of embarrassment while shopping, the last thing some young mothers want to face is an hour of agony and humiliation at church. 

Many a young mother has asked herself, “Why do I keep bringing them to church?” As she enters the auditorium, she utters a silent prayer that the kids will be good and the sermon short. 

The service begins. While the mother is picking up toys, drying eyes, wiping noses, swatting, scolding, going out, coming in, and trying to sing, listen, and pray, the toddler is pouring juice on her dress and pulling a button off the man serving communion.  

To the toddler, church is an exciting adventure. Songbooks are a challenge to take, stuffed toys make great missiles to launch over four or five rows, and the collection plate would make a great hat. 

Young parents take heart! Let me assure you of six things.

1. Your children do not disturb others nearly as much as you think.

2. If you take your child out when he or she becomes a disturbance, it will be appreciated and no one will judge you. 

3. Most people really do understand your plight and remember back to the days when their children were infants and toddlers.

4. Through proper discipline and early training, your children will soon learn how to behave properly. When they begin to show signs of improvement, move down closer to the front where you and your children will feel a part of the worship.

5. Remember that you are both wanted and needed in worship.

6. Have faith that the hand that now hurls crayons will one day spread the seed of the kingdom.  —Mike Schneider (adapted)

“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them” (Matthew 19:14).

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