You don’t have to look far into the history of the church to find, on the one hand, those advocating a life of wealth and, on the other, a life of poverty. You will find those commending a theology of glory and a theology of the cross. “Christianity is really about feasting,” says one. “No, Christianity is really about fasting,” says another.
Paul seems to walk into that conversation and say, “Hey guys, I have done it all, and I’ve found gratitude and fullness no matter the condition.” That’s Philippians 4:11, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” He went through seasons of being honored, and seasons when his name was mud. He knew what it was to push back from a table and need to take a nap because the food stuck to his ribs. And he knew what it was like to run on an empty stomach. At times he had enough to share and at times he needed someone else’s stuff to keep him alive.
Now, what do you do with a guy who is really good in all situations? He can’t be manipulated. He can’t be thrown off course. Find a man who only knows how to abound. Well, good on him. But what is going to happen to him if God tests him like Job and he loses everything. Come to find out, he’s an abounding man who is weak.
The poor man says, “Yeah, that’s right. Poverty is where it’s at.” But take that poor man who only knows how to be in need. What happens to him when the Lord opens up the windows of heaven on him, and he has not room to store so much bread and wine? He breaks under the pressure of all those heavy material blessings and the responsibility that comes with them.
What is the solution? We must know how to hustle joyfully and gratefully when we are full and when we are hungry. How do you do that? Well, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.