How much is enough?
When I first became a Christian 20-something years ago, I was captivated by Jesus’ call to care for the poor.
I’d travelled and seen poverty. I had very little money of my own to be attached to, and I wanted to be radical!
Now, though, my husband and I nearly own our home in the suburbs; we have teenage boys who play instruments and, although we give generously at tax time, I’m seriously worried.
How close am I to becoming one of the “woe to the rich”? And how do I save my sons from being consumed by consumerism?
We live in one of the richest countries on the planet, yet when Australians were asked whether they can afford to buy everything they really need, nearly two-thirds said, “No!”
If we all think we’re struggling, then we won’t think we have enough to help those who really are impoverished.
It seems to me we’re struggling under captivating myths: that we’re not rich; that infinite economic growth is sustainable.
The trouble is, if we believe that we never have enough (as marketers would like) then we’re saying we can’t trust that God will give us everything we need.
We don’t trust that “life does not consist in the abundance of possessions”.
This is how money gets in the way of faith.
Walter Brueggemann talks of biblical narratives of accumulation (think Pharaoh and Solomon) and of abundance (manna in the desert and the feeding of the 5,000).
Anxiety about scarcity leads to accumulation but God is all about abundance.
Yet, Brueggemann says, “Most people try to juggle them and hope no one notices” … as if we could serve two masters.
The cure, he suggests, is to live out our faith with contentment, rather than anxiety. Not how much you have, but how much you appreciate what you have.
Try it right now: stop and do an appreciation assessment (an updated term for counting your blessings).
I don’t know how much is “enough” really but I love the word.
It’s inspiring me.
“I’ve had enough of living with the myth that we can keep consuming like crazy and no-one’s going to get hurt!”
Even better: “No thanks, I have enough. I’m content.”
TEAR’s National Conference in July is addressing the theme “Enough”.
Visit enough.org.au to keep exploring.