"There is Enough"
Pastor Sue Joiner tells the story of her first communion. She was four years old, kneeling next to her mother at the altar of the Methodist Church where they attended. After being served the bread and immediately devouring it, she then whispered to her mom, “Hey, can I have some of yours? I didn’t get enough.”
This story, of course, is quite humorous. And I love the innocence of a child demonstrated in the things they say; but I also love the humanness Sue exhibited at such a young age, a summing up of the way many of us live our lives. “I didn’t get enough!”
The story of the Israelites in the wilderness complaining of lack of food and God’s response by sending manna from Heaven is a story that speaks to what it means to live by faith. When God told Moses that he was sending them food, God added, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day.” (Exodus 16:4).
This instruction to take only what you need for the day is even retold in the prayer Jesus taught his followers: “Give us this day, our daily bread.” Bread only enough for the day.
Perhaps it’s human nature that makes us think we need more; but most people I know live out similar values. “Save up! Buy extra! Keep something on hand for a rainy day!”
There is indeed a survival instinct we carry around with us but how did this instinct then suddenly morph into hoarding? What has led us to operate with the value that we can never have too much, that more is definitely better and that we didn’t get enough?
When I was in North Carolina, my husband and I lived in the country, our house down a long gravel driveway. We didn’t get many visitors so I was quite surprised when the doorbell rang late one evening.
When I answered the door, there on the landing was a young woman, a stranger smiling at me. Her car had run out of gas and she was wondering if she could use our phone to call a roadside assistance service. I gave her my phone and then waited with her for the technician to arrive. While we waited we got to know a little about her.
She was a dancer and a true free spirit. She was visiting friends in North Carolina but was on her way to New Mexico to join others for camping, music, and communal living. They called themselves the Rainbow Children. “I guess you could call me a kind of hippie,” she told me.
I’m not sure at what point in her story I sensed a call to my maternal instincts but by the time the roadside assistance personnel arrived, I was cleaning out my closet to give her clothes, packing food for her to take with her, and gathering up any loose bills and change we had.
“Oh, I can’t take all that,” she said, handing me back the bags of clothes and supplies. “I can only take what I can carry with me.” And like the free spirit she was, she floated out and away towards her car, I’m sure to charm the service man in the same way she charmed us.
As I think about my visitor, I think about Jesus’ words to his followers about what they should take with them when they set out on their ministry. “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money – not even an extra tunic.” –Luke 9:3.
Not even an extra tunic??
It is a lesson in faith, an exercise meant to challenge what a follower thinks they must have and what really is actually needed. It’s the opportunity for grace, to rely upon others for what is needed and to deepen one’s dependence upon God.
“Give us this day our daily bread. Take only what you can carry. There will be enough.
We live in a time and in a society that encourages us to take more, demand more, hoard more; but if we claim to follow Jesus, then perhaps we need to remember these lessons from our sacred texts.
There will be enough. Trust in God. You will have what you need.
May it be so!
You are the light of the world.
NMCC Conference Director
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