The apostle Paul encouraged us to remain content in all things (see Phil. 4). But how did he do it? As Paul survived storms, shipwrecks, beatings and cursings, he strove to “rejoice always,” give thanks and choose contentment despite his circumstances (see 1 Thess. 5:16-18).
Today we, too, endure many trials. From financial burdens to family issues to failure to see fruitfulness as fast as we’d like in our churches, these struggles pose a threat to being content. So how do we handle it? How can we remain content in any situation?
We asked Foursquare leaders around the world for their best advice to living well. The five leaders quoted in this segment told us that to live well, we must be content. Then they shared their tips for different circumstances, and some even explained words of wisdom others have shared with them.
Take a look at what they have to say. Then don’t just think about it. Go for it. Be content, and learn to live well!
In the Small Stuff
“I was 16 years old and complaining vigorously about a menial job I acquired shoveling poo at a ranch when I first heard my grandfather speak these words: ‘Everything we do in life, from the inferior to the superior, will have its use in the kingdom of God.’
“I could not apply them at the time, caught up as I was shoveling my own self-pity, but I remembered them. His words have proven true over and again in my life. That ranch experience has come in handy more than a few times while ministering to others.
“From my grandfather’s words I learned that I can be content. Whether preaching to thousands or simply shoveling poo, all experiences can and will be applied to work with eternal significance.” —Shawn McCammon, an ordained Foursquare minister and active duty army chaplain with Foursquare Chaplains International
In the Journey
“As an American, I was raised under the constitutional right to ‘pursue happiness’; thus, attaining it equals the good life. This ‘right’ has many definitions. But for the most part, I have observed most Americans, myself included, have lived under the idea that ‘happiness’ is a destination to be strived for, sacrificed for, and that I would reach the point of ‘happiness’ because it’s my right to be so.
“The means to ‘American happiness’ is typically the obtaining of security via wealth, attaining to high points in a career and/or of recognition and/or the fulfillment of a vision or dream. It often includes an expectation that once arrived, happiness is secured. This is a fool’s pursuit, according to God’s Word.
“Around age 40, as I prepared for my next ministry assignment, the Lord whispered to me, ‘Choose to enjoy the journey, all of it, including the trials and the disappointments along with success and rewards.’ I have realized finally that happiness is a choice I have in my power to make. It is not dependent upon circumstances nor fulfilled expectations, but in the journey of serving God’s vision and dreams set into my heart prophetically. In this, I have found a life well lived.” —Brett Toft, and ordained Foursquare minister and Foursquare Missions International missionary to Tallinn, Estonia
In the Workforce
“When overlooked for the key leadership role on a new project, I expressed my frustration and whined to a friend. He said: ‘Don’t worry about not being the one in charge. Just make yourself irreplaceable, and make sure your fingerprints are all over the project.’
“So I got over my pity-party, gave my input and helped develop a project with my ethos and that I am proud of—and I ended up getting put in charge!” —Frank Markow, Ph.D., a Foursquare credentialed minister and director of Adult and Graduate Education at Life Pacific College (also known as LIFE Bible College)
In the Field
“It was August 1983. My wife, Belen, and I were already living in Colombo, Sri Lanka, since August 1981. We knew the Lord had called us to plant churches, but we were not making much headway.
“I was feeling very defeated and always negative during this period of time. I saw other denominations and church plants doing relatively well. I had gone into a mode of complaining without realizing. I complained about how others were being blessed and how unfairly we were being passed by, by the Lord.
“One morning as I prayed and sought the Lord, checking my attitude, commitment and faith in God, I thought I heard the Lord say, ‘Do the best with the little you have.’ This was not an answer I expected from the Lord, as it sounded very ordinary. I thought God might come through to me by saying, ‘My son, I am giving you a mighty breakthrough.’ Well, I kept on hearing the simple sentence, ‘Do the best with the little you have.’
“Well, since I kept hearing this message echo in my ears for a few times, I thought I would pay attention [to it]. I started by counting the little we had: our little finances, few homes of poor believers, uneducated people whom I thought were hard to train, etc.
"This word from the Lord, ‘Do your best with the little you have,’ actually did start us out on our house-church-planting strategy. To cut a very long story short, by 1990, we had planted 100 house churches, and 20 more were in the pipeline.
“We now are a house-church-planting movement with 1,860 churches established, having Sri Lankan missionaries in eight nations of the world. Not bad for ‘doing the best with the little we had.’ At least a little is better than sweet nothing. Ha!” —Dr. Leslie Keegel, an ordained Foursquare minister and national leader of Sri Lanka with Foursquare Missions International
“How I wish someone would have told me how to ‘live life well’ when I entered full-time ministry at age 21. If someone asked me today, I would say: Learn to be content and consistent in all things.
“1 Tim. 6:6 tells us that ‘godliness with contentment is great gain’ (NKJV). Being consistent in your daily walk fosters being a person of trust. I liken it to being steadfast, which means ‘unwavering’ (Ps. 57:7). My goal to live my life well is to constantly please Him.” —Rhonda Englert, an ordained Foursquare minister, administrative assistant for Alumni Relations at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif., and assisting minister at The Rock (Anaheim Foursquare Church) in Anaheim, Calif.
Check back each Tuesday for the latest installment in our series on recommended ways to live well:
- How Do I Live Well? Love Always.
- How Do I Live Well? Be Present.
- How Do I Live Well? Achieve Balance.
- How Do I Live Well? Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly.
See our story “What’s The Best Advice You Ever Received On How To Live Well?” in the July 2013 issue of Foursquare Leader magazine.
Compiled by: Allyson Siwajian, content coordinator for The Foursquare Church and Foursquare Leader magazine in Los Angeles