For I Have Learned to be Content with Whatever I Have –

Right to left:  Rev. Dr. Otha Gilyard, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, Mrs. Freda Gilyard, Judge Denise Page Hood, Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III



The Apostle Paul speaks of knowing how to be content in all stages of life – through hunger and fullness, joy and sorrow, he says he can handle it all:

Philippians 4: 12 I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.[1]

Paul is in the last years of his life.  He is awaiting a trial before Caesar.  There is a chance he might be set free, but there is also a chance that he will be executed for his faith.  Paul is under house arrest.  He is not a free man, but as a citizen of Rome, he is afforded the right of a trial before Caesar, the emperor.  It is within this context that Paul utters this famous proclamation: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

What is it about the experience of Paul and his relationship with Jesus Christ that has caused him to feel like he can handle any situation?

In our times, just as the time of Paul, the “Curveballs of life” can throw us off kilter.  We do well until someone dies.  We do well until we become sick.  We do well until a child makes a mistake.  We do well until there is an unplanned, unforeseen financial emergency.  It is these moments when it may become difficult to live within your means, time and space.

Because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I have found a personal contentment in my life.  The longer I live, the closer I become to Jesus Christ.  It is this faith in the life to come, and the strength for life right now that I try to make the most of each day.  I have not experienced much illness.  Neither have I experienced poverty.  I have felt the sting of disappointment in people who have let me down.  By the same token, I have received unfettered joys on so many levels:  the joy of living long enough to witness the maturation of my children and grandchild; the joy of living long enough to watch the growth and development of persons I have prayed for and counseled; watched my church continue to climb new mountains every month and every year; and through it all, the Lord continues to inspire me with new visions of opportunity and possibility.

My encouragement to you is that if you have not found inner peace, that you might strive to learn to relax in the Lord and make the most of each moment.

Philippians 4: 11 Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have[2]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What about the life of the Apostle Paul taught him to “Be content with whatever I have”?
  2. How can an individual “Be content with whatever they have”, but still strive to do better?
  3. What words of Jesus has helped you to live a life that is “Settled”?


Prayer:  Lord, I need your help in leading and living a settled life.  Help me, Jesus to be content with my present situation.  Show me how to live through pain, to enjoy happiness and comfort, to live a good life through hunger and fullness, joy and sorrow.  Teach me to push for the best and work for the best and strive for the best, but also, show me how to live within my means, handle adversity, and live in your Holy Spirit, in season and out of season.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

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[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Php 4:12–13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Php 4:11). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.