Our world is filled with the marketing idea that humans are to gain more, gather more, take on more, and do more. We get more education so we can work longer hours and gain higher pay. We get bigger and newer automobiles to prove we have more. We live in large homes where we spend more time on the yard than we spend inside the home. We spend more and we gain more and we seek out friends who spend more and gain more so we can compete and compare and feel great about ourselves. But what is enough, how do we measure that amount? How do we know that we have reached the limit? When will we be satisfied? Jesus talked about this, sort of!
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21, (New International Version or NIV).
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets, Matthew 7:7-12, (NIV).
I have learned through personal experience what it is to have the desire of my heart given to me by God and then to blow it! I had the privilege and great joy to design an addition to my home some years ago. My now ex-husband wanted a larger home and I loved every minute of designing, planning, building, and decorating that home. Throughout this post you will see photos of this former home. I often thanked God during those years for allowing me such a privilege but I soon learned that it wasn’t as much of a blessing as I thought. You see, there are no surprises for God because He knows all and sees all in whatever time-frame we are living in. He knew my now ex-husband’s heart and He knew my heart. God knew that a divorce was coming even though I had no clue about it. God taught me that my desires were not as good as I thought they were, especially when the home I designed, the home that was to be my forever home, the home that was to be where I was carried out feet first to the grave, that home, was sold by order of the judge! It was a hard lesson to learn. I grieved and I cried and grieved some more. Sometimes I wondered if I was grieving about the divorce as much as being forced to leave my beautiful home! I survived but only by the grace and mercy of God! Through this experience I learned that Proverbs 23:5 was right when saying that money, position, and power is fleeting.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle, Proverbs 23:5, (NIV).
Jesus has a different view than most in the world do. We humans seem to never feel we have enough. We want more and more and more but that is not the way a follower of Jesus is to feel. Jesus teaches us that we can lose our soul with the world’s attitude of wanting more. The truly sad part is that such attitudes creep into our hearts and minds without our being aware of it. Only by using this teaching of Jesus can we begin to see real truth in action.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done, Matthew 16:24-27, (NIV).
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first, Matthew 19:23-30, (NIV).
I decided long ago to learn from my own experience with wealth. When I was forced into moving it was a difficult time in my life. Going from a 10,000 sq ft home to a 1,000 sq ft home was the beginning of my new heart and outlook on my life. I decided that I had enough of everything now and I don’t need more. I have moved to another home since then but my attitude of contentment has not changed. God has made a way for me to exist and I have learned to be contented with what I have. I feel at peace now more than any time in my entire life. This idea that we need more possessions, more food, more time, more sex, more relationships, more money, more, more, more is really a lie from the world. It is a lie that is marketed to us every day and we need to be aware of that fact. We need to define what is enough.
At the dinner table tonight my son and I discussed when enough is enough. I told him of someone who built a business but now feels they must have three or for more businesses and are continuing to build a financial empire. I told him of someone who has so many shoes they have a special room just for their shoes and another who has such a large closet to hold clothes that they own but rarely wear. He was appalled of course, until I put it down at his level and asked how many Pokémon cards were enough, how many electronic games are enough, or even how many cookies are enough! That question made him stop and think. He finally said that enough is enough when you are full. I thought for a moment and I said that to me enough is enough when you have what you need and not to be greedy by wanting more. I believe that God gives us enough and what we have left over is to be shared with those who seriously don’t have enough. I also believe that God selects some people to have a gift of making money but when you get to know them you will see that if they truly have that gift they are not greedy, selfish, or stingy. What a true blessing that would be but I am not jealous of them. No, I feel like Paul.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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. I can do all this through him who gives me strength, Philippians 4:12-13, (NIV).
Until next time…Katherine