Last year for Lent I gave up TV and all Social Media. Let me tell you, it was so hard. I read a lot of books, and probably spring cleaned my apartment like every week. Just by cutting out those things, I realized how much they were really consuming my life. They had become a vital part of my day. To go without I had to reprioritize my days.
Paul learned this lesson too, just on a MUCH larger spectrum. Paul, before he became a devoted follower of Christ had lived with much. He was a wealthy man. But the Paul we know, is much different. In these verses in Philippians he lets us in on what he has learned from this experience.
How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn't have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Paul in all of his writings always speaks his gratitude to those who are helping him. That has to be a very humbling thing to go from being wealthy and needing no one to help you provide anything for yourself to having nothing, being in prison and needing help from people for just the basic things.
There is always so much we can learn from Paul but as we think about simple & sacrificial living this week I think we can be challenged by two things.
Paul was always encouraging and thankful for the generosity of others. He was never too good to receive help from people. I challenge us to take a look at where we are being stubborn and not being willing to accept help from others who are offering it to us.
Even when I feel like I don’t have enough, I can still give something. Paul often had nothing but he still spoke encouragement to the Churches he was doing ministry with. Simple and sacrificial living looks like a lot of different things. Simplifying and sacrificing is in our finances, our time, our homes, our relationships. Where can we simplify and make some sacrifices to further the Kingdom this week?
Sarah Lancaster is a founding plant team member at The Table. For the past 5 years she has served on our Leadership Team and oversees the worship ministry as a member on our staff.