By The Very Rev. Mark B. Pendleton
“Enough!” What a powerful word that can be used all kinds of ways. I use it when I am at the end of my rope and have exhausted all of the patience that God has given me to handle a situation, or to calm down an unhappy camper or rein in a headstrong teenager.“No more!”You have exceeded your limit and it is time to call off the charge.
When an elderly Joshua reminded the people of all that the Lord God had done for them, and how each tribe had been allotted an inheritance of land, one can only imagine that it would be enough to ensure their faithfulness and obedience. But we know that even with all the land in sight, that alone was not enough to keep the people on track. In his final farewell to his people, Joshua sensed the uncertainty of the future: 23:11 “Be very careful, therefore, to love the Lord your God.”
In John 6, Philip said that six-months’ wages would not buy enough bread for the vast crowd of some five thousand people that was amassing to listen to Jesus.
When is enough ever enough? Enough insurance to protect what we own and the lives of those we hold dear. Enough money tucked away for a rainy day. Enough patience and grace to make it through a day without blowing our stack at innocent people who simply find themselves between us and where we want to go? Enough abundance to make sure no one goes hungry in our nation and world.
Perhaps the only way one can know when enough is truly enough is if there is something left over for others. Food for the hungry. A decent job for the unemployed. A home for the homeless.
In John’s telling of the feeding of the five thousand, the boy with the five loaves of bread and the two fish is the hero of the moment. His preparedness and free offering of what he had brought about a multiplication and sharing beyond his imagining.
To the God of abundance, plenty and overflowing mercy, grant us moments when our desire for enough is tied less to the things that rust and wither, and more tied to having enough faith in you to trust through the good times and bad times. May your son Jesus, who made much out little, be always enough to draw us more deeply into your heart.
The Very Rev. Mark Pendleton is Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford, Connecticut