Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Does it Take to Be Content?

Philippians 4:11

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

Think about this question for a moment. Have we ever been content? Have we ever had enough? Have we ever been satisfied? When is enough – enough? How much do we need? Are we storing up more than we need? What does it take to be content?

Have we ever been content? At times – being content might take away our drive – our desire – to accomplish more. I think – at times – giving people things without them working to earn them – takes away a sense of contentment that comes with hard work.

The contentment that Paul is writing about in today’s passage has to do with things – learning to be content with the things we have or don’t have. What does it take – things wise – for you to be content?

One church I served went to Appalachia each summer. A friend – 92 – who just died while back – went for many of those years. We sent teams to ASP (Appalachia Service Project) each summer. We learned just how much we had and how much we take for granted. It really helped us think about things in a different way. We had way more than almost everyone we served – and yet they were happy and often content.

I remember working on a coal miner’s shack in the mountains of Tennessee. That family had made their home out of this old minor’s shack. The outside boards had big gaps between them and the Tennessee winter winds and cold made it very hard to keep the shack warm. They had a pot belly wood stove in the middle of this shack and the ceiling above it was black from how hot they had to keep the fire to offset the winter cold coming through the walls. In this home – we studded out the walls – installed insulation – and put drywall up. Our efforts were to help them stay warmer in the winter. It was a small help – yet they were very appreciative of our efforts. I know they were warmer that following winter.

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July 28, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Difference Between Wants and Needs

Philippians 4:12

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Rays HaircutWe live in a day and age – probably not unlike many other eras – when there are a number of folks that live hand-to-mouth. These persons live in many communities around us and in our own communities. Living hand-to-mouth means that a person uses every part of their income with no plan for the future. Everything they make they spend. They live hand-to-mouth.

Some people have had many opportunities – yet still live hand-to-mouth. Some have not had many opportunities and find themselves in the same situation. There are a number of people in our society that may not be able to make ends meet. For these our society tends to help (although many we help – IMHO – have made decisions in life to put themselves in this situation of need).

Part of what leaves many folks living hand-to-mouth is a lack of understanding or discipline when it comes to wants verses needs. Most people (and I have no statistics for this at this time but it is an educated opinion from 40+ years of ministry) live beyond their means because they have mixed up their needs and their wants. This happens at all income levels – from the very poor to the very rich. How many times have we read about professional athletes – who make more money in a 4-10 year career than many of us could make in several life-times – only to find themselves living hand-to-mouth in short order? I had an elderly person once tell me they couldn’t live on their social security check. I wanted to tell them that social security was never meant to be the sole income for a person in retirement. A person was supposed to save – to put money aside for retirement. They were not to spend all they made. They may have mixed up their needs and wants. Continue reading

May 26, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Have We Ever Been Content?

Philippians 4:11

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

img_0063-2Think about this question for a moment. Have we ever been content? Have you ever had enough? Have you ever been satisfied? When is enough – enough? How much do we need? Are we storing up more than we need? Most of us live well beyond our needs – yet it is our wants that keep us from being contented.

Have we ever been content? At times – being content might take away our drive – our desire – to accomplish more. But the contentment that Paul is writing about in today’s passage has to do with things – learning to be content with the things we have or don’t have.

One church I served went to Appalachia each summer. We sent teams to ASP (Appalachia Service Project). We learned just how much we had and how much we take for granted. It really helped us (me) think about things in a different way. We had way more than almost everyone we served – and yet they were happy and often content. Have we ever been content? Continue reading

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Have We Learned To Be Content?

Philippians 4:11

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

Life ChangeThink about this question for a moment. Have we ever been content? Have we ever had enough? Have we ever been satisfied? When is enough – enough? How much do we need? Are we storing up more than we need?

Have we ever been content? At times – being content might take away our drive – our desire – to accomplish more. But the contentment that Paul is writing about in today’s passage has to do with things – learning to be content with the things we have or don’t have.

One church I served went to Appalachia each summer. A friend – 92 – who just died this week – went for many of those years. We sent teams to ASP (Appalachia Service Project) each summer. We learned just how much we had and how much we take for granted. It really helped us think about things in a different way. We had way more than almost everyone we served – and yet they were happy and often content.

I remember working on a coal miner’s shack in the mountains of Tennessee. That family had made their home out of this old minor’s shack. The outside boards had big gaps between them and the Tennessee winter winds and cold made it very hard to keep the shack warm. They had a pot belly wood stove in the middle of this shack and the ceiling above it was black from how hot they had to keep the fire to offset the winter cold. In this home we studded out the walls, installed insulation and put drywall up. Our efforts were to help them stay warmer in the winter. It was a small help – yet they were very appreciative of our efforts. I know they were warmer that following winter. Continue reading

October 29, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Needs and Wants – Do We Know the Difference?

Philippians 4:19

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

We often write – teach – and preach – about our needs compared to our wants. Most of us live in the world of our wants (I know you have heard that from me before). Most of us have all we need and most if not all of what we want. Of course – there are those among us – either through choices they have made or choices and circumstances beyond their control – who live lives of need.

Take a test with me. Think for a moment – what would you do with $1,000? With $10,000? With $100,000? With $1,000,000? Does your answer include needs and/or wants? Are there bills that need to be paid for needs or are there things you’d like to buy that aren’t needs but rather wants? How much of that money would be spent on your needs verses your wants?

Most – I imagine – would talk about a new car – paying off the mortgage – buying a beach house – retiring early – or some other want. Few – I think – would talk about buying groceries for the family or paying medical bills or helping others have their needs met. What would you do with some extra money? If you inherited a sum of money – how would it change your life? Many who come into large sums of money have ended in ruin – because they failed to understand the different between needs and wants. Many pro athletes and movie/TV stars fall into this trap when they suddenly come into a large amount of money. I was moved by the young athletes that immediate help their family with their new found wealth rather than purchasing everything they lay their eyes on. Continue reading

January 4, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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