Divine Contentment


Thomas Watson


Ferry Meadows

“I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” Philippians 4 v 11


These words are brought in by way of prolepsis (the anticipation and prevention of an objection). The apostle had in the former verses laid down many grave and heavenly exhortations; among the rest, to be careful for nothing (do not be over concerned for anything). Not to exclude, 1. A prudential care: For “he that provideth, not for his own house is worse than an infidel.” Nor, 2. A religious care: For, “we must give all diligence to make our calling and election sure.” But, 3. To exclude all anxious care about the issues and events of things; “Take no thought for your life what you shall eat;” and in this sense, it should be a Christian’s care not to be careful(overly concerned).

The word in the Greek, careful (over-concern) comes from a primitive (prime word), that signifies to cut the heart in pieces; a soul-dividing care; take heed of this. We are bidden to “commit our way unto the Lord:” the Hebrew word is roll thy way upon the Lord. It is our work to cast care, and it is God’s work to take our cares. By our immoderacy (self-indulgence) we take His work out of His hand. Care when it is eccentric, either distrustful or distracting, is very dishonourable to God; it takes away His providence, as if He sat in heaven, and minded not what became of things here below; like a man that makes a clock, and then leaves it to go of itself.

Immoderate care takes the heart off from better things; and usually, while we are thinking about what we shall do to live, we forget about how to die. Care is a spiritual canker (fungal disease), that wastes and dispirits; we may sooner by our care add a furlong (660 feet) to our grief, than a cubit (18 inches) to our comfort. Now lest anyone should say, Yea, Paul, you preach that to us which you have scarcely learned yourself; have you learned not to be careful (overly concerned). The apostle answers that in this text, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content.” These words dear friends are worthy to be engraved upon our hearts and to be written in letters of gold upon the brows of all. Amen