But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:10-13
A monetary gift from the Philippians had just arrived and Paul was blown away. He hadn’t sought the gift but it was a God-send. It wasn’t easy to connect with him in prison and the Philippians finally found a way. This was a generous church despite their acute needs.
This set Paul to writing about living a content life.
There are two important lessons in here.
First, contentment has to be learned. And “you know it don’t come easy,” as the Beatle Ringo Starr used to sing, especially in a materialistic society. Paul learned the secret of living with a little or a lot.
Second, contentment is not gained through one’s inner strength, from stoicism as the Greeks would teach, but through Christ who strengthens us. That’s the secret.