Thoughts From Phil on Thankfulness and Contentment

I was reading through Philippians, one of my favourite parts of the Bible, this morning. A couple of things stood out to me I thought I’d share.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus… (Phil. 1:3-6)

I can’t read these verses anymore without thinking about all the churches, individuals and family members who are supporting my ministry in Japan through their praying, giving and encouraging words. So if I haven’t said it enough, THANK YOU! I pray God will bless you all for your part in my ministry and His kingdom.

… I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:11-13)

This is a lesson I’m still learning to live out. For me the issue is not money or things. I really do have everything I need. And then some. But when I think about the future, with all the stuff I could be doing, the ministries I could be a part of, the opportunities I could have, sometimes it’s hard to be content now.

I’m a dreamer. I’m always looking ahead. I’m always looking for what’s next. It’s good to dream, it’s good to have goals and plans, but sometimes we can get so focused on the future that we fail to enjoy the present. Sometimes the work we have to do now to reach the goals and dreams we have don’t seem worth all the hassle in the present. We wish we could skip ahead.

I love Japan. I’m happy to be here. I even love learning the language. But it’s hard work. For me, the thing I have to remember is that this of focused language study is a step towards those goals and dreams for the future. It’s not a waste of time. In fact, it’s a necessity. But beyond seeing its value for the future, I need to learn to see the present as good in and of itself, and learn to take joy in the here and now.

There will always be a tension between being content and dreaming of a better future. But the present isn’t so bad. In fact I’m blessed.

Lord, help us to see Your blessings in the here and now!

I just realized how these two points tie together. One of the great blessings I have in the present is the many supporters standing behind me as I travel this journey. So again, thanks.

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