How much is enough? Good question! I suppose it depends on the issue. Consider what we wear. How many outfits, slacks, shirts, shorts, shoes, pajamas, pants, jeans, jackets, and accessories are enough? And how about those marvelous electronic devices! Just how many gadgets do we really need? Or what about our free time? How many hours off each day, week, and year is enough? How many years of job-free retirement is enough?
How much is enough for our checking account, savings account, and retirement account? It has been widely reported that the exceedingly wealthy John D. Rockefeller was once asked, how much money is enough. His reply, “Just a little bit more.” If I am honest with myself, I may have answered in a similar way.
How much is enough? Good question, but a better question might be, “What is your goal?” If your goal is to be comfortable and to be admired by your peers, then you will continually clamor for more than you now have. However, if your goal is survival, then food, water, clothing, and shelter from the elements and from temperature extremes would probably suffice. The difference between these two extremes is unimaginable for us when fleshed out in daily routines.
Sadly, for billions of people on our planet, survival is their goal. Most of them have little or no opportunity to improve their lot, no matter how hard they try. Of course there are exceptions, but in the providence of God they have been born into poverty, while most of us have been born into relative wealth.
Here’s a better question! What if we became committed to the simple goal of obeying the Greatest Commandments—at any cost? Loving God supremely and loving people as we would want to be loved. Where would we start?
We could begin with locating the neediest people we can find, and then walk a mile with them, in their shoes. Most likely, we will be brought face to face with the truism, “Except for the grace of God, your shoes would be ours as well.” Once we enter into their world, hopefully we will never see our world the same way again.
If our goal is obedience, our “how much is enough” will begin to shift. Our comfort will no longer be comfortable— but that’s a good thing! Our use of what is discretionary in our lives will be applied to the multitude of needs that God will graciously show us. Our satisfaction will no longer come from getting more or better, but from seeing the joy and gratitude of those to whom we give what we don’t really need anyway!
Let’s continually encourage each other to examine and adjust our goals! After all, the providence of God may shift. One day we may find ourselves with their shoe on our foot, needing what we don’t have. In our hearts we will know there are some out there who will have what they don’t need, while we desperately need what they don’t! So, a better question might be, will our example to them now inspire them to help us in our time of need then?
Bruce Hendrich is the Pastor at Oak Street Baptist Church
804 Oak Street • Elizabethon, TN 37643 • 423.542.4022 • oakstreetbaptist.net