But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Timothy 6:8 (NIV).
That seems like a pretty low standard, doesn’t it, just being content with food and clothing? Unless of course you’re homeless or don’t have a coat in the cold weather. Or if you’re one of the 815 million people who are, according to the United Nations, starving or undernourished every day (https://www.worldhunger.org/world-hunger-and-poverty-facts-and-statistics/). If you live in Africa or much of India, you desperately need clean water. If you’re in the former USSR or Africa or much of South America, you need reliable medical care. If you’re in North Korea, you need everything.
The writer of Hebrews tells us to be content in all things because, in all things and at all times, God is with us. He promised to never leave or forsake us whether we’re in plenty or deadly want. And the writer of Proverbs 30 (most like a man named Agur) tells us that the only thing he really needs is daily bread. Do the jump to what Jesus said about not living on bread alone but on every word from God and we can quickly see that we don’t even need food.
Sure, you’ll wither and eventually die without food. Each of us will die someday, yet even as we are dying, God is with us, Jesus is within us, feeling what we feel and dying again a little bit at a time. As long as we have Jesus, NOTHING else matters, not even food and clothing. I’ve spent enough time with homeless people to know that Jesus can be found there as well, even among those who desperately need clothing and shelter.
Yet let’s not be irresponsible and not live thankfully for what He provides us. When we do have food, we have a gift from God and we should be cognizant of that, 24/7. Disaster can come on us quickly (from weather, a tempestuous planet, or the wiles of hostile government). When that happens, our needs become even more acute; duh. That means now is the time to be thankful and content for food and clothing and water and shelter and all the things we take for granted when disasters are far away.
And let’s also keep it real by remembering that, for those suffering in the gulags of North Korea, Cuba, Russia and China, God must seem far away. Ditto the streets of our cities, the hell-hardship of being trafficked, and in places where people don’t have enough money to pay for food. Pray for them. Pray for ways you and I can tangibly help and be used as Jesus’ hands to feed them. To give them the hope to be thankful as well.
For further reading: Hebrews 13:5, Proverbs 30:8, Matthew 4:4, 1 Timothy 6:9.
Blessed Lord, I often fail to be thankful for all You provide. Thank You for everything because You give everything. Show me a way to share my thankfulness and bounties today.