My grandfather spent most of his adulthood working on other people’s farms. My dad spent most of his childhood helping him. Together they fought the brutal middle Georgia heat, gnats and sometimes probably each other. It was hard work that shaped them into the men that they would later become.
On one of those hot days, something got my dad’s attention, pulling him away from his work. He noticed a beautiful sports car speeding down the road next to the field where he was working. My father began to daydream about that car and how nice it would be to be free from his back-breaking work.
I wish that was me.
Several years later my dad managed to escape the middle Georgia fields. He got an office job, where instead of working the land for another man he crunched numbers for another man. While this new job gave him an escape from the heat, it also brought with it a new set of troubles.
On one particularly troublesome day, my dad got into his nice car and raced home, eager to get away from the confines of his office. On his way home he drove by a middle Georgia field. He noticed a bunch of young men working hard to get their job done while at the same time battling the heat and the gnats. My father began to daydream about that field and how nice it would be to be free from his mind-rattling work.
I wish that was me.
We usually think about sports when we read Philippians 4:13. But Paul wasn’t stopping his train of thought to suddenly talk about how to dunk a basketball or run the 40 in 4.1 seconds. He was talking about contentment. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” is essentially a mission statement for Paul that only makes sense when it is read in context with Philippians 4:11.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
The secret to being content in our life, whether we work in a field or drive a nice car to the office every day, can only be found in Christ. Seeking satisfaction in a better situation is a game that you cannot win. The lovely green grass on the other side of the fence is a mirage. But this is easy to forget. We need Christ’s strength to remind us that all we need is in him.
If Christ truly is both the source of our strength and the goal towards which we move we will be content being used by him where we are.
We will never have to say, “I wish that was me.”