Sermon Summary, 7/15/18, “Joy of Being Content!” (Phil 4 selected)
This is the final sermon in our joy series. A woman loses her husband of 50 years and enters despair. She remembers her husband had a friend who owned a pet store and she buys a parrot for company. She tries everything to get the parrot to talk, a mirror, a ladder, a swing, Week after week she buys something new at the store, but nothing works. The parrot dies. The pet store owner asks, “Didn’t it ever say anything? “Well, I think as it was laying in the bottom of it’s cage taking its final breaths, I did faintly hear it say, “Doesn’t that store have any food?”
We focus on the wrong things! We lose perspective. We hate to wash clothes but fail to remember that not too long ago, washing clothes was an all day task, even longer if it was time to make soap. We need to take perspective from the Appalachian Grandmother who encouraged us following the wash day to “Freshen up, smooth up your hair, brew up a cup of tea, sit and rock a spell, and count your blessings.” Our joy is dependent on attitude. Attitude. Look for the silver lining. “Faith is putting all your eggs in Christ’s basket and counting your blessings before they are hatched.”
Paul tells us “for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. . 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phil 4:11b,13) Focus on Christ. To be content. To be joyful, Paul tells us to focus on Christ.
Then rejoice: 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4-7)
The Lord is near. Rejoice sure, and we can do that if we focus on eternity. Paul always focused the real thing, his time to be with Christ. We can be joyful, we can be content, if we focus first on Christ, then on eternity.
And then my favorite verses: 8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Focus on the good things. Focus on Christ, focus on eternity, focus on the good things. In my case, in all of our cases, the good things are always people, those we are called to love and to share our lives with. Focus on Christ, eternity, others. Be joyful, be content. Amen.