As we chatted on my friend Nancy’s front porch, Nancy revealed something about her family of four that surprised me: “We have enough money.”
That wasn’t something I was used to hearing folks say. It seemed like something more appropriate to whisper. In fact, I suspect that more of the people I know would confess to tax evasion or marital infidelity than would admit, in front of others, that they have enough resources.
As I drove home from Nancy’s house, I continued to noodle on her absurd confession.
Although Nancy and I have different income levels, her announcement reminded me that I also have enough. My children and I have a comfortable home, running water, indoor plumbing, clothing for every season, and food on the table each day. Though I do have a few friends whose income is not enough to house and feed their families, the daily needs of most folks I know are being met—even if making it from paycheck to paycheck is a struggle.
So why, I began to wonder, should it seem scandalous to hear an admission of sufficiency? Why would something so benign feel so scary?
An Alarming Thought
Maybe, I mused, if we were to admit we have all we need, we’d realize we really don’t need to keep gunning to earn more money.
Maybe if we were to admit we have all we need, we’d be forced to acknowledge a heavenly provider who is good.
Maybe, if we were to admit we have all we need, we’d also have to admit that we don’t need to acquire more.
Maybe, if we were to admit we have all we need, we’d realize that God intends to provide for other people by means of our “more than enough.”
It became clear why I’ve never heard anyone other than Nancy say they have enough. It’s a scary thing to admit because it threatens to require something of us. So we conceal—or at least don’t verbalize—the evident reality.
Bombarded by Messaging
Daily we’re bombarded by voices promising we’ll be satisfied only if we acquire more. Jay Walker-Smith, president of the marketing firm Yankelovich, says that we can be exposed to as many as 5,000 ads a day. Without ceasing, the voice that lies torments, You don’t have enough. You’ll never have enough. You need more. You deserve more.
The voice insists that happiness is found in the consumption of stuff—of food, entertainment, substances. Even though we know better, this voice is persuasive.