11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[c] who gives me strength. 14 Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.
Contentment is not about circumstances and supply, so then why do we as Christians still say to ourselves and to one another, "Look around. We have so much when we compare ourselves to others." We look at our life and say we should be content with what we have because no matter how little that might be it is probably better than someone else somewhere. Is God less concerned about a person's needs (most especially a need to know him) because a person is not homeless, not a refugee, not a drug addict, not an alcoholic, etc.?
We say things like, "At least we have our health." This is well-intentioned, but not entirely correct either. It is always good to be grateful to God for how he has blessed us, but we cannot look at what we have instead of what we have not and try to be content. This is wrong as well. Our circumstances good or bad must not determine our contentment. This is what Paul is saying.
Lord, help me to have your missionary's heart, to look at the multitudes and have compassion because they are like sheep without a shepherd and not simply because I judge one person's quality of life to be better than another. Help me to be content in my own life through you only, and help me work ceaselessly to help others find this contentment as well.