How much is enough?
Ponder this question: Have you ever asked yourself: How much is enough?
Do you ever find yourself dissatisfied and discontent, always desiring more...pursuing more? That’s perhaps an easy trap to fall into - especially living in a place like Naples.
Have you ever noticed that we have a tendency to be more aware of those who appear to have more than we have - but often give little notice to those who have less?
What are we willing to sacrifice to have more...more money, bigger homes, fancier cars...more stuff? Do we spend more time than required at work, giving up time with our family, or time with the Lord, or time serving the Lord, just to gain more stuff?
The American Enterprise Institute recently reported that we are living in the greatest period in world history as evidenced by:
Life expectancy in the US in 1900 was 49 years. Today it is 79 years.
The average workweek in 1900 was 51 hours. Today it’s 35 hours.
Total leisure time (all vacation throughout one’s lifetime plus retirement) was 11 years in 1900. Today it’s approaching 40 years.
And to put things in perspective, the same article reported:
It’s estimated that 90% of the world’s population have never flown on an airplane, yet 80% of Americans have flown.
And an annual income of $34,000 puts you in the category of the richest 1% of the world’s population.
Based on these statistics, most of us are rich by the world’s standards. Yet, are we happier...more satisfied?
So, how much is enough?
The Smithsonian Magazine reports that John D. Rockefeller was the richest person in modern history, yet when he was once asked “How much money is enough?” He famously replied “Just a little bit more.”
Thankfully, as Rockefeller aged he came to realize that his wealth did not satisfy. In fact another quote that he is less famous for is “There is nothing in this world that can compare with Christian fellowship - nothing that can satisfy but Christ.” He had come
to realize that all of his wealth did not satisfy - but he learned that Christ did satisfy.
Solomon tells us the same thing in Ecclesiastes 5 - “He who loves money will not be satisfied.” And in Psalms 49 we are warned not to be awed by the rich for they take nothing with them when they die. Then in Proverbs 23 we are cautioned not to weary ourselves to gain wealth for wealth “makes itself wings”.
Now granted, we have responsibilities before the Lord. The Lord expects us to work. In fact, we are told in II Thessalonians 3 that if someone is not willing to work then he shouldn’t eat. Wow - strong words and expectations. And in I Timothy 5 we are told that those who do not provide for their own family are worse than unbelievers. Again - wow!
So, what is our motivation? Are we simply striving to provide for our family as best we are able, or do we constantly want more? Chapter 6 of I Timothy famously warns us that the LOVE of money is the root of all evil, even causing some to wander from the faith. Hebrews 13 adds to that saying our character should be free from the love of money and we should be content with what we have. But are we content?
Another question to ponder: Why has God given me all that He has given me? Is it just for my enjoyment? Or does He have greater intentions / purposes for the wealth He has entrusted to me?
There is nothing wrong with enjoying what God has provided - in fact enjoying what God has provided goes along with being content. Continuing in I Timothy 6 we are told that those who are rich in this world are not to be conceited or fix their hope on their riches but are to fix their hope on God who supplies us with all things to enjoy.
But, it then instructs us to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share. And in Malachi 3, we are challenged, asking if we have robbed God. But how have we robbed God? It tells us - by withholding our tithes and offerings.
God balances the enjoyment of His blessings with the responsibility to be good stewards of what He has entrusted to us.
In Luke 12, we are told that God knows what we need, and in Philippians 4 it says that God promises to supply all our needs. But later in Luke 12, God then reminds us that to whom much is given, much may be required.
Last question to ponder: When was the last time you thanked the Lord for all that He has blessed you with and entrusted to your care - not only for your enjoyment, but for you to give to the Lord’s work and to share with those in need?
More to come...
Do you have questions about managing your finances from a Biblical perspective?
For guidance feel free to call Kent Anderson at (239)596-8600 x254.