Philippians 4:11b – I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. (NIV)
My friend's chihuahua "Kirk" rules the household where he lives, though he's not aware of it. Neither is he aware of being a dog. His mistress has her entire schedule built around his wants and needs.
Chihuahuas are the smallest breed of dog in the world, named for the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. Discovered in 1880, they weigh two to twelve pounds, with a height of six to nine inches and a life span of fifteen plus years. Since that time, they have ruled many households, bringing joy and delight to their owners.
Kirk is not allowed outside alone. A hawk might swoop down and pick him up for dinner. Kirk spends his days playing with his toys and doing the things he knows will please his friend. Not knowing he's a dog and never experiencing the freedoms some of his species have, his life is spent loving and entertaining those who are good to him.
The Apostle Paul knew he belonged to Jesus Christ, who had knocked him down and turned his life around on the Damascus Road, so he did not question his role in life. He did whatever Christ's Holy Spirit wanted him to do.
Paul's life was certainly unlike Kirk's, who controlled the mistress and the household, but he was completely dedicated to God's will. Paul was beaten and imprisoned, he worked for his livelihood, and many times, he was driven out of town with threats of death hanging over him. Paul says he learned to be content, whatever the circumstances.
We — most of us, anyway — are not the idolized centre of another's life; neither are our circumstances anywhere near as bad as Paul's, yet are we able to serve God with joy and contentment at all times? Probably, we are not, but we can work at adjusting our attitudes and responses in ways that lead to contentment.
Prayer: Lord, give us attitude adjustments. Teach us how to sing and serve You whatever circumstances life places us in. In Your name, we pray. Amen.