Over the years I have heard the story of an old Puritan recounted. The man sat down to a very small meal of a simple piece of bread (or potato) and water. He then voiced his prayer; “all this and Jesus too!” This man seems to have understood well and experienced the same grace as the Apostle Paul who wrote:
…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:11a-14)
Prior to saying this Paul called the Philippians to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4). This tells us that the contentment Paul knew in all circumstances was rooted and grounded in rejoicing in Christ and not in his circumstances.
Christian, in Christ, God has poured on us inexpressible and unsearchable riches (2 Cor. 9:15, Eph. 3:8), and this is a gift. We didn’t earn or merit salvation in Christ. In fact, we earned not blessing, but instead curse. In his book, Chasing Contentment, Erik Raymond said; “The truth is, we deserve hell and we got mercy!” (pg. 54) In light of this proper understanding of the gospel, Raymond pointedly wrote:
If you are having a hard time being content, make a list of everything you have that you don’t deserve, and then make a list of everything you deserve that you don’t have. When you and I realize how kind and gracious God has been with us, we’re able to see things in a proper perspective. (pg. 62)
We have much for which we should be thankful. I hope we can join the old Puritan in saying, “all this and Jesus too!”