By Chris Baker, pastor, Centralia First Baptist Church
A dollar isn’t much to most of us. It’s not enough for a lot. . . in fact, it’s enough for much less than it used to be.
Back in 1907 a dollar would have bought you a new pair of patent leather shoes. In 1920 it was enough for 5 pounds of sugar. By 1950, one dollar was the price of a Mr. Potato Head and in 1960 it would have gotten you two tickets to the movie theatre. In 1990 on average it would have both you a gallon of milk. Today, one dollar is only enough to download a song on iTunes.
I don’t want to talk to you about money, though. I want to talk about contentment. Many of us believe that there’s a number out there. . .if we collect enough dollars, then we will be able to live content lives. Paul writes in Philippians 4:12-13 that he has learned the secret of being content. Spoiler alert: he doesn’t make any reference to how much money he had to make to discover that secret.
Philippians 4:12 I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.
Contentment is learned. Paul didn’t just role out of bed one morning and experience contentment. He says twice in Philippians 4 that he has learned contentment. Contentment is not natural for us as sinful beings, but discontentment is.
It’s one of the root causes of the very first sin. Adam and Eve had every blessing imaginable in the garden, but they weren’t content with God’s sovereignty over them. God said in Genesis 2 ‘You are free to eat from any tree of the garden but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or you will die.’ Were they content to live as God said? No! And neither are we, by default.
For the full column this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.