Pyrrhus did not heed his friend’s advice. He did go on to attack and defeat Rome. However, his victory was so costly to his own forces that afterward he said in essence, “One more victory like that one and we will be totally ruined.” That, of course, gave rise to our expression “a pyrrhic victory,” which means an empty victory, one that may be a win but that came at far too high a price. The great economist, Adam Smith, said that our insistent desire to have more, to have something other than what we enjoy today just as Pyrrhus did, is “the great source of both the misery and disorders of human life.”
In Philippians 4:12 Paul wrote, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Contentment does not come from one’s circumstance. It is a trait that exists in us no matter what our circumstance may be. It is a quality that is crucial to living for the things that really matter and for experiencing joy. Truly godliness with contentment is great gain. That’s not a message we hear much from our culture. It tells us that peace and joy are found in those things out there that we don’t yet have. If we can just get them, why, then we will be at peace and life will be good. But the truth is that all that will produce, as Adam Smith said, is the misery and disorders of human life. We all, like Paul, need to learn the secret of being content no matter what our situation, for then, and only then, we can experience life.