Contentment

My wife Jan and I are starting to plan our vacation for this fall. With the pandemic, our choices are limited, but fortunately, we love to hike and camp, so I believe we’re heading west to Colorado for some backpacking.

When I was younger, I didn’t need much – a tiny tent, a small stove, a light sleeping bag, and a few odds and ends were all it took for a week in the woods. Now I’m not so sure. These old bones need some kind of pad to sleep on and a few more clothes to stay warm. A nice mug and some good coffee don’t seem like “extras,” but how much do we really need to be happy? If you were going on a two-week backpacking trip and had to carry everything you needed on your back for miles, what would you take? I remember taking a group of teens on just such a trip. One poor girl was surprised to learn there were no “current bushes” to plug her hot curlers into that first night on the trail.

The Apostle Paul shared this thought with his beloved Philippians:

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for 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. I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:10 – 13).

To be with and in hunger and still be happy? To be full and not want even more? What is the secret to contentment? How is it possible to be satisfied in spite of desires? Perhaps if we understood this one promise – “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” – we would be content. What does that mean to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Now hand me that camping catalog. I’m sure I’m forgetting something I can’t do without!

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