How much is enough? More!
One of the biggest challenges for many parents is to teach their children to be grateful for all they have. Many children want more and more and don’t even say thank you for all that they receive. They think that is the way it should be. All privileges become rights and if they don’t get what they ask for there is hell to pay.
Where do these kids come from? They must get it from their parents.
Often we as adults aren’t satisfied with what we have either. A bigger this and a bigger that. Wow, wouldn’t it be nice to live in that area or drive that sports car? We want bigger and better. Just a little bit more. People joke about it and are looking for the answer to the question: When is enough, enough? And the answer: More, even more!
What actually happens when we want more and more and bigger and better, is that it all simply becomes too much. There is so much of everything around us that all we see is the more that we believe will bring us true happiness. Therefore, the very serious warning: 4 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. 5Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.
Someday somewhere you will have to explain why you got stuck at more.
Our domestic worker’s house burnt down. She had nothing left. The municipality talked and talked, but nothing happened. Because she had nothing left she had to push herself into a family member’s house to get a place to sleep for herself and her two children. The next day my wife apologised to her for having to work in our house with so much in it while at the moment she had nothing. Her response: Ma’am, I never even thought about it.
The problem is that we look for our gratitude among people who have more than us. But we’ll never find it there, because gratitude is not found where more is. No, only when we look at people who have less than us and realise how much we have, only then are we bowled over by gratitude. Then our little becomes a lot. Then we realise how much we actually have. And remember: This is not only about material things. Think about your health, your arms and legs and all the bits that are still working.
Just sprain a finger! Suddenly you realise how privileged you are to have fingers. Just get a little lump in your mouth that doesn’t stop irritating you. When it disappears you are so pleased that everything is back to normal. Unfortunately the gratitude doesn’t last long and before I know it, I’m back to comparing myself to others. If you have a plate of food to eat, you’re better off than 805 million people in the world.
Real happiness, real peace, real gratitude is to be found when we look at those who have less than us. There’s nothing wrong in having things. If you have worked for it or have been so fortunate to have received it, this should move you to help others to enjoy the same privilege that you have. Look at those who have less than you have. When you see what they don’t have, you will be grateful for what you have and, hopefully, out of gratitude, simply start sharing all that you have.
And then, sort of like a footnote, a request for the men of God: 6Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.
Remember: They’re only human. They also have needs. God uses you to reach out to them as well. Be a blessing for those who bless others
Do you struggle with gratitude?
Are you looking up or down?
To whom can you be a blessing?
Lord, I am guilty. I know I’m sometimes unhappy when others have more than me. I know I should rather look at those who have less than me. Please help me keep my eyes in the right place. Please help me to see with gratitude all that I have and help me to share some of it with those who are not as privileged as I am. Amen