I read about a man who was very proud of his beautifully groomed lawn. It was absolute perfection—that is until a heavy crop of dandelions came in one year, and he couldn’t figure out how to get rid of them. Finally he wrote an e-mail to an agricultural college and told them about all the things he had tried. He also asked if they had any suggestions.
They responded with a very short e-mail that read, "We suggest that you learn to love them."
There are times when we find ourselves asking, "How can I get this problem to go away?" or "How can I get this irritating person out of my life?" or "How can I change my circumstances?"
Sometimes God will take the problem away. And sometimes God will say, "You know what? You just have to learn to love them."
The apostle Paul said, "I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content" (Philippians 4:11). Paul wasn’t saying that he was necessarily satisfied with his present spiritual condition. And though we need to be content with what we have, we should never be content with where we are spiritually. There should always be a bit of restlessness in our lives to want to learn more, to want to grow more, and to want to be transformed more, recognizing there is still a great distance to run in the race of life for each of us.
But notice that Paul used the word learned. He had learned in whatever state he was to be content. Contentment does not come naturally. We need to learn how to be content because we are naturally discontented people.
Despite what adverse circumstances we may be facing, we can learn to be content in the midst of a troubled world.