Do you have a sense of contentment?
Without a house, a change of clothes, health, a car freedom, spouse, well-cooked food, and a salary, the apostle Paul could say, “Not that I complain of want: for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11). Paul wrote that while in jail!
Yet so many of us, having everything Paul didn’t have–house, car, food salary, health, mate, etc.–are still so discontented, so down in the mount, so grasping. In fact, never in the course of human history have so many had so much for so long and felt so bad about it as modern Americans. Why? Why could Paul with so little be so contented, while we who have so much be discontented?
Perhaps he had something we didn’t have, like trust in God’s provision. Like the attitude, “If I don’t have it, God doesn’t intend for me to have it.” Like ambition harnessed in the lordship of Christ. Like the attitude, “This is good enough!” Like an ego that did not have to be first, best, always! Like not having to keep up with others.
What we’re really talking about here is the tenth commandment. “Thou shalt not covet.” It means greed. It means wanting what your neighbor has and more. It means being willing to do anything for a buck. It means getting more and more and more and more. It means looking to things for the satisfaction that only God can supply. It means making pleasure life’s goal. It means turning your eyes on your neighbor and taking them off God. It means always shopping, moving around, climbing out on the credit limb, and believing all those ads that say you can’t live without their product.
This is what Paul had learned that we haven’t learned. The tenth commandment. Accepting what you have with gratitude. Looking to God, not things, for satisfaction. Deciding to live with what you have where you are right now.
“I have learned…” Paul dsaid. He wasn’t born with this maturity. He had to learn it. And we shall , too. Either now or later.
Stephen M. Crotts at email@example.com
The Carolina Study Center
Want to Help?
One of the German summer school divinity school students, Slava from Minsk, Belarus, has asked me to visit in the coming winter. This would entail preaching in his church each night for 14 days, holding a seminar each morning for area pastors on marriage and family, and preaching in 6 area universities during the afternoons.
I think God is in this and am looking into a visa and air flight. To do this would cost around $4,000. As usual, we’ll have to build a partnership to accomplish it.
Let’s pray. And as you find the level at which you’d like to get involved, just let the office know by letter or email.
I can go. You can help go. And together we can join God in his labors.
Thanks to you who have kept us on the field of ministry by your encouragement, prayers and giving. Good results happening!
Our need is to expand our donor base by 26 more persons and our church base by 7. If you know anyone who would like to partner with us, would you put us in touch? We’d gladly make an appointment with them and present the vision of campus ministry.
Let’s press on until He appears in His crowning glory to rule! Jesus, our Savior!
You’ve so hungrily received from us over the years…. The Word of God, …The Lord’s Supper, …counsel, …weddings, …funerals, …fun….
Now you are helping us give the same to others, especially college students throughout the Southeast. Now we receive from you the prayers, the encouragement, the financial backing to do the work of the ministry with the Carolina Study Center.
We call this trust.
It’s called partnership. Sometimes friendship. But I call it love!
In behalf of Jesus Christ and students, thank you for all you’ve done in 2002.
It’s been a productive year in Christ Jesus. And we could not have done it without you!
Bible Memory Verse:
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
“I found out that God doesn’t give invitations–He gives commands. Most ministries give invitations to people. If you give somebody an invitation to repent, they have the option to accept or reject, but if you give them a command they can only obey or rebel, most people don’t do that because it’s confrontational, but all truth is confrontational.–The late Ed Cole as quoted in New Man magazine. Cole, considered the father of the modern Christian men’s movement, died August 27.
Special Request for Prayer
This fall has been full of open door opportunities in colleges small and large, from Duke University to Alice Lloyd College, from Elon to the University of Kentucky. There have been marriage conferences, retreats, churches, classroom seminars, chapels and opportunities to write. Some weeks I’ve preached as many as 14-16 times.
My voice has given me trouble lately–weak, scratchy. Too much use, no microphone, etc. Ask Jesus to make my voice strong that I might proclaim Christ.