I have enough, and it’s all God’s.
Our outlook on survival
Air. Water. Food. Shelter. According to NASA, that’s what human beings need to survive. Sleep is high on some other lists, especially those of new parents. Some authors add sanitation, touch, literacy, or personal space but most everyone agrees on those basic four. Since you are reading this, you probably have access to air, water, food, and shelter, though their quality and quantity may be poor.
You may be sleeping in a storage locker. You may eat once a day when you get lunch at school. Your water may be polluted by toxins or sewage. Or, you may have the American average of 2,680 square feet under your roof. You may enjoy three meals and tasty snacks. You may drink bottled water. If you have access to sustenance and shelter, your needs have been met. You have enough. So for most of us reading this the question is not, “do I have enough?” The question is “am I willing to believe that I have enough?”
I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
– Philippians 4:11-13 NRSV
Training our wanters
It is fairly easy to rationally accept that we have enough. It is far more difficult to come to believe it in the deepest part of our desirings, and to live as if it were true. We have to train our “wanters,” which by the time we are adults have been often been twisted by deprivations real and imagined, as well as by an economic system that depends upon fueling desire. Though untouched by the power of advertising, Adam and Eve wanted more than what they had once they heard the seductive voice of the serpent. Without training and intention, we are as likely to succumb as they–and we have a lot more snakes luring us toward greed.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
– James 4:1-3 NIV
Believing the reality of enough
The Bible tells us that all the heavens, and the earth, and everything in the earth belong to God (Deuteronomy 10:14). Out of the inexhaustible depths of his love, God has provided everything humanity needs to survive and thrive. God has entrusted it to our care and use, but it belongs to God. We must see ourselves as stewards, charged with increasing the Lord’s storehouses rather than our own.
A life of enough is born in every moment — in the way we listen, the way we respond to the world, the way we see what is and tell the truth of who we are. Every single choice, every single moment, every change of course can bring us closer to a life of peace, contentment, authenticity, and easy sufficiency, a life of being, having, and doing enough.
– Wayne Muller
Believing we have enough allows our minds and bodies to resist the temptations of the world and focus on the goods of the kingdom. The more secure we feel in God’s provision, the simpler our needs become. Christian simplicity is unity of spirit, thought, desire, and action. When true simplicity is gained, we live in joyous trust, enjoying the constant divine companionship for which we were made.
This post is part of the God Ideas Series.