Recently, I learned about an immigrant who started a small business and was successful enough to get a nice house and send his kids to school. He never spent much on himself, except for his one hobby — he liked to go to the race track. Occasionally, he would hit a jackpot on a long-shot finish. On the way home, he would stop at his church and donate his winnings. The priest would ask if he was sure he wanted to give the money away, and the immigrant would say, “Yes, father. Give it to someone who needs it. I have enough.”
I have enough.
We don’t hear that phrase much these days, do we? Certainly not in our culture, which insists that there is never enough of anything. Millionaires insist on bigger bonuses. Wealthy athletes get upset if someone else at their position makes more. Commercials try to persuade us that we won’t be happy until we buy more of what they’re selling. You have a cell phone? It’s not good enough—you have to have the latest one. Act now and you‘ll get twice as much of our product. Do you want to super-size your order?
We hear it so often that it’s easy for us to start judging our worth by how much we have in comparison to others. Those with the most are thought to matter the most. We think we can never get enough or have enough. We start to hoard whatever we can get.
And we never learn to be really thankful. Instead of appreciating all that we’ve been given, we feel that it’s inadequate. We want something else, something more.
Along the way, we start to lose our ability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not. We confuse our wants with our needs. We stop appreciating what‘s really valuable in our lives.
Isn’t it interesting that when a storm flattens a neighborhood, survivors say they haven’t lost anything truly important? They realize they still have what matters—life, love, family, friends, the gift of another day full of grace and possibilities. Then they go on and help one another rebuild their lives.
Those moments snap us back to reality and remind us of our abundance and our responsibility to share. The person with two coats ought to give one to the person who has none—one coat is enough. Someone with food and water should share with those who are hungry and thirsty. Those who can move about freely should spend time with the lonely person who is confined. And so on.
Like the thankful immigrant on his way home from the track, we need to recognize that we have more than enough. And to share with those who don’t.