Today's Devotional Thought
February 21, 2011 by Wendy Foreman
Are You Willing to Give it All Up?
Are you content? I have read these verses numerous times in my Christian journey. Recently when I read them, the Lord struck me with something that overwhelmed me and I want to share that with you today.
I want to start first with discussing the author of these verses. The Apostle Paul wrote these verses from prison. The fact that he can write these words while sitting in prison amazes me. His circumstances were not good and serving his Lord is what put him there. I love that Paul, in the middle of such terrible circumstances, knows that his strength truly comes from the Lord and no matter what he faces, the Lord will be there with him and strengthen him through it.
Paul, when he was Saul, was a very wealthy man. He was a Pharisee and was the best at what he did. When God got a hold of him on the road to Damascus and called him, it all changed. He went from a man who had plenty to a man who had very little. When he says that he knows what it is like to be in need and to have plenty he is telling the truth. Paul learned through focusing on what God had called him to do that doing was more important than having. The rewards from serving God and putting him before anything else are fulfilling and more satisfying than money and possessions.
What is true contentment? I have asked myself this question repeatedly in the last 2 years. Its funny, my husband and I have been in ministry 14 of our almost 19 years of marriage. We have served in various churches and have faced many challenges. One would think that by being in the ministry, it is just automatic to be content. You are serving God, right? So surely you find contentment in that. I am here to tell you ladies that although I was serving the Lord and loved him with my whole heart, I was looking for more. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t live every day telling God I wanted more and that I was miserable. It wasn’t like that. God was good to us and every time we had a need, it was taken care of in a variety of ways and we knew that God’s hand was on us. However, somewhere during our ministry I lost sight of JUST serving Him. I looked around and I saw what other people had and I wanted it. I wanted the big house the nice cars and clothes. I wanted nice vacations and nice dinners out. And then one day, it happened. We bought the nice house, bought a nice vehicle and I had a closet full of clothes and shoes to match. We were going on nice vacations to the beach and other places and we could eat out whenever we wanted to. It was nice and we were enjoying it.
One day though, it all came crashing down. I know that I have shared this with you already, but the Lord showed me something so different recently. I am ashamed to tell you that I was so upset with the fact that all those THINGS were taken away. We lost our home and buying new clothes doesn’t happen that often anymore and vacations are limited to less expensive places and eating out is limited. I spent months being so upset about the life change and I didn’t know how to let go of those feelings, but one day the Lord showed me places in scripture where the people were moving around and I noticed that some had lots to take with them as they traveled to the next place the Lord was leading them, but some had very little. I think of the Israelites. They built the tent of meeting and the cloud resided over it but when it moved they moved.
The more I read scripture, the more it seems that the Lord showed me passages that pertained to people moving from place to place serving Him. In Matthew 6:31, Jesus is teaching on worry and he tells us to not worry about anything, what we shall wear or eat or drink. He tells in verse 33, to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to us. I began to realize that if we are so attached to the things of this earth and attempt to find contentment in them we will not 1) hear God speaking to us because our focus will be on our possessions and 2) be able to leave everything to serve him wherever he leads.
Think about it, if we are wrapped up in the things of this earth and focused on our STUFF are we really going to be willing to leave it all to go fulfill what the Lord has called us too?
The Lord has shown me that my contentment should not come from things that I accumulate, whether it be money or possessions. I have not mastered it, by any stretch, but I praise God that I am learning that the things of this earth (for me) only weigh me down and distract me from doing the things that he has prepared for me to do.
If you find yourself desiring more like I once did let me encourage you to ask God to remove that desire and teach you contentment in every area of your life. True contentment can only come from the Lord. He will give us the strength that we need to face any and every circumstance.
Ladies, he will take care of us. He will take care of us in the ways that He sees are best for each one of us.