12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Now that Paul let the people know that he can be content in any situation, he takes itt a little farther by explaining the different situations that he has been in. First you said he knows how to be abased. What this says to me is that Paul was put down in many places that he went. He was chastised as a fool, he was told to leave, he was beaten and stoned. Yet he kept going in his ministry because in this situation he was content. How would we react? How do you deal with people that offend you? I heard the saying a long time ago that I live by now. “If I am offended what miserable piece of flesh is left in me they can still be offended”. I am supposed to be dead to the flesh so that I will be alive in the Spirit (Gal 2:20). I should not allow anybody take away my joy because they have offended me. If I get all bent out of shape because somebody says something or somebody does something that offends, me then I lose my joy in my peace. This should not be so. I challenge you to let offenses just roll off your back and just keep the joy.
He says he knows how to abound. If you’re all of a sudden blessed with more money than you had before and by possessions, what would you do with it? Would you brag about it? Would you go out and spend it unconsciously? I think a lot of us would take advantage of the situation as much as we could. We’d tell people about it and we’d spend it and have a good time. Paul said he knew how to abound. I believe he use any excess money for his ministry when he was in financially better shape. And I doubt he boasted about it. I would guess he was pretty quiet. He could do that because he was content.
He says he was instructed to both be full and hungry. We should be that way as well. We should not be out always searching for new truth. We could spend days and weeks, even months, searching out various topics try to increase our wisdom and knowledge. But increasing those things doesn’t get us anywhere if we don’t put it into practice. So, we need to know how to be full. We also need to know how to hunger and thirst after righteousness. We need to have a hunger for the truth of the word. When we go to church we should be listening for what God wants to say to us that day. If we’re in the congregation then I believe God has something for us. Keep your ears open. Be full and hungry.
He’s also instructed to abound and to have need. We need to be in a place where we’re ready to receive what God might have for us. He always has something for us. And if we are full at the time, we may miss a blessing in the word that is given. At the same time, we should be satisfied with what we have, so that if we walk away and have not received anything, we are still content. God will always supply if we have a need. And we’ll talk about more work on that tomorrow.