How Much is Enough?

by | Oct 19, 2015 | 2015, Musings | 0 comments


I have a friend who has often remarked to me that she wishes her family had just a little more income (and probably a little less expense). She captures the sentiment by saying she just wishes they “had enough.”

With her comments as a backdrop, I was fascinated by a study I saw in one of John Ortberg’s books (When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box). Ortberg was contrasting household items that were “rated as necessities by Americans in 1970 as compared to 2000.

In 1970, 20% of us thought a second car was a necessity. That grew to almost 60% by 2000. A second television was a necessity for only 3% of Americans in 1970. That swelled to 45% by 2000. Only 11% thought of air conditioning as a “can’t do without” item, but by the year 20000 65% of us thought of it as a MAJOR necessity (me included).

My favorite was the need to have more than one phone per family. A mere 2% felt that way in 1970. But thirty years later 78% of our families must have a second or third or fourth phone!

Clearly our “wants” have turned into “needs.” And the sad thing is, once we construct mental rationales for considering ourselves deprived, we just accent our unhappiness.

The Bible has something to say about “enough.” A farmer in the New Testament was experiencing great success with his crops. And he asked, “what shall I do since I have no place to store my extra crops?” That rich fool responded with “I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones.” Bigger barns was the cry!

Enough was not enough for him. And sadly, it often isn’t enough for you and I.

Maybe this week we can mirror the attitude Paul was expressing in Philippians 4:12: ”…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.”

Even the way he said it, “…I have learned…” implies that it is a process that we can get better at. So, let’s mutter to ourselves all week, “I have enough. I have enough. I have enough!”



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