13 December 2007

First Outside Devotional: To Be Abased and To Abound

My middle son dragged (drug?) me out of bed this morning to head to prayer breakfast. He gets up an hour before our eldest son now, so it was just the two of us who headed to Loren's Cafe for breakfast.

We read Philippians 4:10-13 "10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Here is verse 12 in a different translation: "12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

Contentment is such a harsh word, as in America we celebrate the extremes of life rather than the peace that can come living life. I don't think Paul was saying don't live; in fact, joy should be fostered in the midst of any and all circumstances.

Yet contentment implies inaction, a stasis of life which is both unhealthy and wrong. Life is to be lived, and circumstances are to be tackled head-on. Joy is not something to long for, a far-off destination we stumbled upon at some point in time. No, we must each know how to be abased and how to abound, and we must strive to live and find joy in both extremes.

Yo-Yo Ma can sure play a mean cello...
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