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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Both how to abound and how to be abased » Both how to abound and how to be abased

Both how to abound and how to be abased

Susan M - March 8, 2007

“Last one there’s a rotten egg!”

To my older kids, this was just a fun way to instigate a race from the car to the front door when we got home from somewhere. To my youngest, this was torture. He hates to lose anything. And being the smallest, he was always the last one to the door.

He also heard it wrong and thought they were saying “a rotten pig.”

After a few times of always being the rotten pig, he began to get very upset. To head off a full-flown temper tantrum, my husband and I acted quickly. We told him it was a good thing to be the rotten pig. We acted excited that he was the rotten pig. Thankfully, our youngest decided to go along with that.

It became the best thing to be the rotten pig. The thrill of racing to the door wore off, but for years the last one in would still gleefully say, “I’m the rotten pig!”

One of my favorite passages of scripture was written by Paul in a letter to the Philippians:

Not that I speak in respect of want:
for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am,
therewith to be content.

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.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philip 4: 11-13

A lot of the discontent I feel is really just a matter of perspective. I commute 2 hours a day, 10 hours a week. That eats up a lot of my time. Yet I love my job and really feel like I was led to it by the Spirit. So I try to look at the hours I spend in traffic as an opportunity to listen to music, uninterrupted, which, believe me, is a good thing. Like being the rotten pig.

Of course, there are deeper, more serious things I am unsatisfied with in my life. Things I won’t outline here. And I’m beginning to think maybe these things aren’t in the plans for us. I haven’t given up hope, but I’m trying to adjust to the fact that some things just might not happen. I have faith that if it’s God will, then these things will come to pass. And if not, I need to be able to accept that.

I am trying to be both full and hungry.

To abound and to suffer need.

To me it’s related to that paradox of losing your life to find it. Basically, if we humble ourselves and turn to Christ, we will abound. There’s a wonderful sense of—not pride, but something almost similar, when we know we are following God’s will. When things fall into place because we’re humble and God has blessed us. I’m not sure how to describe the feeling, but it is a sense of being full, of abounding. But it only comes when we’ve abased ourselves.

That’s why I love the last verse: I can do all things—through Christ.

Any thoughts?


  1. Susan M., you are a blessing and an inspiration.

    Comment by Mark IV — March 8, 2007 @ 9:31 am

  2. Our son used to do the same thing (but for rotten egg) up until recently.

    Comment by Kim Siever — March 8, 2007 @ 12:40 pm

  3. “He who is skillful in defeat shall never see destruction.”

    Sun Tzu

    Comment by Seth R. — March 8, 2007 @ 12:55 pm

  4. The last one to comment on this thread is a rotten pig.

    Susan, that was a great post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and that particular scriptural passage. Probably the best thing I’ve read all day.

    Comment by danithew — March 8, 2007 @ 3:09 pm

  5. Uh-oh, by commenting after Danithew, I’m risking being a rotten pig, but I’ll enjoy it if I get the honor.

    I wanted to comment on this because I’m giving a lesson tomorrow on scriptures, and this is a great example of how we can find inspiration for our current situations from scriptures that were written thousands of years ago.

    I agree that our discontent is just all about our perspective. I had relatives who were miserable for years because nothing was good enough or done the right way. No matter what, these people could never be satisfied or contented with anything. As I age, I sometimes feel myself slipping into similar habits– habits I vowed never to get into. This post is a great reminder to let Christ lift us up, and light our way… to see the positive in any situation. Even rotten pigs.

    Comment by meems — March 10, 2007 @ 12:00 am

  6. Thanks for sharing the scripture. That one was never on the scripture chase and is not heard enough in Church. I have had to learn this in the most painful way the past couple of years, so I am going for the rotten pig.

    Comment by Doc — March 10, 2007 @ 9:17 am

  7. I grew up attending a Lutheran church named for St. Paul. He’s always been a favorite of mine. :)

    Comment by Susan M — March 10, 2007 @ 9:19 am

  8. Thank you Susan. You phrased that wonderfully and worth stealing for a SS lesson!:)

    The hard part for me is figuring out which to be content with and which to hunger for more with.

    However, like you and Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ.”

    Comment by Bret — March 10, 2007 @ 2:41 pm

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