Plenty to share
by Audrey Novak Riley
We don’t have any.
We don’t have enough to go around.
We have just about enough as long as we’re careful.
We have enough for everyone here.
We have plenty for everyone here.
We have enough that we can share, and someone else will have enough, too.
We have enough that we can share, and someone else will have plenty, too.
Which one of these sentences feels most familiar? Which one sounds most like something you’ve heard many times before?
For me, the sentence “We have just about enough as long as we’re careful” has resonance. My childhood was not a scene of material abundance – my widowed mother stretched her paycheck till it squeaked to make sure all four of us kids were fed and clothed and educated. And yes – “we have just about enough as long as we’re careful” was a regular feature of life in our house.
How were things when you were growing up? Which sentence sounds like “home” to you? Does it fit your reality now, or not so much?
I’m grateful to say that “just about enough” doesn’t fit my life now, thanks be to God, but there are times when it still echoes in my ear (in my mother’s voice!). How about you?
I think a lot of us, whether we grew up with hand-me-downs or the very best of everything, carry around an old message of not enough to some degree, in some variation. And for a lot of us, when we’re worried or scared, we’re likely to hear it again. Not enough time. Not enough people. Not enough money. Not enough . . . something.
But when we pay attention to the many blessings God has so graciously and generously poured out everywhere we look, when we feel grateful for all those blessings, when we realize that God really does love us – then those worries and fears go away and a new sentence comes to mind: “We have enough that we can share, and someone else will have plenty, too!” Plenty of time. Plenty of people. Plenty of money. Plenty of . . . love.
Oh, there’s that word! Didn’t Jesus keep talking about love? Jesus kept telling and showing his disciples (us!) that there’s not only enough of that to go around, there’s so much that we can share it with all our neighbors and families and friends and even strangers, and then they’ll have plenty to share, too! Can it be true?
Yes. We can trust Jesus’ words and example. Perfect love – Christ’s love – casts out fear (1 John 4:18b), so we don’t have to worry. We don’t have to be afraid. There really is enough to go around, and more. Jesus wouldn’t have it any other way.
Audrey Riley is director for stewardship for Women of the ELCA.
How to Give
January 2017: Doing new things
December 2016: Advent: A hidden season
November 2016: Giving thanks
October 2016: Look in the mirror
September 2016: Seasons of stewardship
August 2016: No child should go hungry
July 2016: Prepare for the triennial
June 2016: Beginning the journey
May 2016: Holy Stewardship
April 2016: Good for our hearts!
March 2016: Loving Lent
February 2016: Happy birthday Katie!
January 2016 devotion: “I am about to do a new thing!”