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Coveting or Contentment

01. March 2011

Columns, Learn & Live,


When the Apostle Paul says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13), guess what he has in mind? He is not thinking about speaking to big crowds and persuading thousands. He is not thinking about overcoming big obstacles to complete important projects. He is speaking about contentment. “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (vv. 4:11-12).

In discussing his own infirmities and challenges, Paul confesses, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10). He tells Timothy, “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (1 Tim. 6:8).

Paul is in good company. John the Baptizer exhorts the crowds within his hearing, “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8). Some soldiers wanted to know what this meant for them. John’s answer startles us. “Be content with your wages” (Luke 3:14). In many circles in our day, we are taught just the opposite.

The tenth commandment, “You shall not covet” (Ex. 20:17), requires contentment. Hebrews 13:5 makes the connection. “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have.”

This commandment sums up all the rest. Are ...

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