Enough

One of my favorite spiritual words is enough. Spiritually the word comes from the story of the manna in Exodus—one of the great stories of our faith. The Israelites were wandering around in the wilderness, waiting to get to the Promised Land. But before they could go there, they had to learn some things. Dan Erlander says they were in “wilderness school.”
They were hungry, so every night, God would cover the ground with a flaky substance they named “what is it?” which is what manna means in Hebrew. There were some manna rules. You could only gather what you could use—that would be different for everyone, depending on how many were in your family. If you gathered too much, it got stinky and rotten. One day a week, the day before Sabbath, you could gather a double portion, but other than that, every day was an exercise in trust. Every day, you had to believe that God would provide, and that it would be enough.
I just saw a commercial about how “more” is always better. If you are even paying a little bit of attention in our culture, most every message we get in advertising or almost anything for that matter, tells us that more is better, and that we can’t really trust anyone but ourselves to get us what we need–only what we need is never enough—so that is why we should always want more. Walter Brueggemann calls this the principle of scarcity, which is operating under the assumption that there is never enough.
In contrast to this, we have a God who is a God of abundance. Like he did with the Israelites in the wilderness, God asks us to trust that he will provide. Jesus told us to pray, give us TODAY our daily bread. Not tomorrow, not in 10 years—TODAY. This is a trust prayer.
But in our culture, scarcity and abundance are always at war. Buy it now, this won’t last. You better save, save, save and store up as much as you can for the future. There was even a man who came to Jesus and told him his barns were full and he was ready for everything. Jesus told him to get rid of it all, and all the man could do was walk away sadly. I think he was sad because he realized, like I often do, that it is WAY easier to trust myself than it is to trust God.
I have a choice. I can be like that man and look at the food in my fridge or the money in my accounts and trust those, or I can live a life where that is not where I put my trust. Because when I put my trust in stuff, then there is never enough. Are you sure there will be enough food for the party? What if the economy goes south again, will we have enough? This turns me inward, focusing on me, me, me. And then I start to get afraid.
And there is nothing that is affects our faith and our generosity more than fear—which is probably why the most often-repeated command in the Bible is “fear not.” I used to do walks around Seattle with a Compass Center chaplain named Nyer Urness. He always had a pocket full of quarters for the pan-handlers. And one thing he always asked us is if we knew who gives the most to those on the street who ask for money? The answer: other pan-handlers. That always amazed me and shocked me but it also weirdly made sense.
See, they live manna lives every day. Trusting that this day, God will give them their daily bread. Putting aside judgment about why they are there for a moment, you can at least acknowledge their trust. Same when you visit a very poor country—you will never find people who are more grateful.
And so what helps me is to remind myself again and again that there is enough. God gives me what I need, and my job is to keep it flowing. When I see someone who needs help, I can help. Jewish people are commanded to share no matter how much they have so that they remember that they have enough to share—even if it is a tiny bit.
I need to go to wilderness school all the time. I always need to be reminded to trust God. God will and does give me what I need, whether it is food, shelter, hope, comfort. There is enough–enough for you and for me. We worship a God of abundance, not scarcity. So trust that you will be given enough.

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