“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.” Philippians 4:11-13
As a family we feel so blessed to be living here in the west where the health care is fantastic, the security is great, we can drink clean safe water from the taps without worrying about typhoid, we have electricity in our house all the time - I could go on.
I am by no means saying that we have it all, far from it. But as I write this, I have in my mind’s eye many of my relatives and friends back home in Uganda for whom the life that we live would be a luxury. And yet even with our relatively comfortable lifestyle, we find ourselves not satisfied. Rachael, Hannah-Joy and I find ourselves wanting for more or wishing we were like others.
In the above Bible Passage, I don’t think St. Paul’s aim is to make us feel guilty because of the material wealth we have, neither is he wanting to make us feel sorry for ourselves because of our lack but rather, he is exhorting us to adjust our perspective whatever our circumstance.
I think he wants us to look at what we have and say thank you, use it well and be mindful of those not quite like us (perhaps worse off).
For example; as we say grace for our meals, we could try to remember those who don’t have and even mention them before God. Perhaps there is someone that you could help materially? “To them whom much is given, much is also required” Luke 12:48.
The needy, the poor and the marginalised are closer than we think. We don’t have to look as far as Africa, South America or Asia. They are right here by our doorsteps, sometimes we just need to look across the street. Real everyday needs exist such as debt, strained & broken relationships, hunger, pain and not forgetting sin, which separates us from God.
Friends, when we see and experience the suffering in the world, our perspective changes; from mourning about stuff we don’t have to being grateful for everything.
“Let the weak say I am strong…” Joel 3:10.
Dear God, as St Paul writes, please help us to be grateful for and content with whatever little or plenty you have given to us and help us to be mindful of and share with those without.
Help us as also we continue to share the good news of your love to do it in practical ways.
The Grove run Relief Centre.
Educare Family Support Service run by Naomi Rattray.