“I 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.” That is the Apostle Paul talking in a letter he wrote to the Philippian church while in a Roman prison. (Philippians 4:12)
I can see a need to handling want but how can there be a necessity for a way to handle fullness and plenty? When we have plenty, shouldn’t we just enjoy it? I’ve pondered that question on and off over the years. I knew I was missing something because Paul would not have mentioned it if the river didn’t flow both ways.
Here’s what I have come up with: the trick is not to put stock in your physical circumstances at all. Don’t trust them when things are good any more than when things are bad. There will be seasons in life; short of eternity nothing lasts forever. It is very easy to get stuck in the “good life” and to begin to see it as normal and expected. That can be a trap. We can start protecting our vested interest in our “plenty” and be unwilling to obey when Jesus says to move on.
The trick to handling plenty is to hold it at arm’s length – a good friend while it’s in town but you wouldn’t want to marry it. Be equallythankful in good times and scarce times. Fix your eyes on Jesus alone as your sufficiency. Then you will hardly notice whether your glass is half empty or half full.