Enough is enough

180px-opus_blue.jpg  This is one of those subjects that I don’t know what to write because I have no business talking about it.  So, I am just going to start writing out my thoughts because I need them all in one place so that maybe I can draw some conclusion from them. 

I have been doing a lot of thinking about the concept of “enough” lately, specifically in regard to the way we live.  This is such a broad subject and I can’t pull it apart to get at the pieces to examine.  This is probably going to be the worst blog post in the history of blogs, so bear with if you have the stomach for it. 

What does it mean to live simply?  To live with enough to live adequately.  Now I am not talking about basic survivalship, like a mud hut somewhere and living “off the land”.  I am trying to think about real life in the context of where and how we live as Americans.  Now, I understand that the U.S. is a rare bubble in a world of poverty and pain.  As a friend of mine put it recently, “You know we live in Disneyland, don’t you?”  He and I were talking about something completely different, but the image is still the same.  We act as though the way we live in the U.S. is normal, but it is more like living every day in Disneyland.  Reality is across the ocean and south of the border.  Reality is that 40% of humanity lives in abject squalor.  Reality is that thousands of people die every day from starvation and thirst.  Reality is that a car, a steady supply of food, a roof, clean running water, electricity, etc. are all luxuries.  I am not an advocate for wringing our hands in guilt for the wealth, luxury, and power that the U.S. has.  On the contrary, I look at the United States of America as a rare gift that is worth protecting, preserving, and using for the sake of good in the world.  By the way, I am not talking about the government of the U.S., I am talking about the whole thing from the people, wealth, knowledge, culture, attitudes, running water, electricity, etc. that make up what we are as Americans.  The loss or potential loss of this precious gift is what I assail and what I lament on occasion in this (and my previous) blog.

How does one have any sense of reality while living in Disneyland?  There is an old saying “to whom much is given, much is expected”.  It’s based on a bible verse (Luke 12:48), but I think it has come to mean more than it was written to mean.  Everyone is born into this world with some degree of talent, wealth, influence, etc. or the capability to obtain such things.  To me, it boils down to how one utilizes those attributes and things for the betterment of humanity.  To put it more in touch with reality rather than idealism, to live simply I must utilize my wealth, intelligence, wits, possessions, vocation, etc. for the betterment of my family, my community, and for those that do not have access to the attributes and things to which I have access.  For me, only by doing that can I have a chance to comprehend and perhaps change the reality that most people experience. 

When is enough “enough” for an individual or small community of Americans?  Do we unplug from society and commiserate with the impoverished 40%?  Do we insulate ourselves from the riff-raff in self-imposed seclusion?  Do we simply throw up our hands and give up?  I think the answer lies somewhere in the goal of improving the reality of people in the world.  I think it is incumbent upon every American to offer a hand up to those that are below some minimum threshold of what we think reality should be for humanity.  Is that minimum threshold clean drinking water, electricity, a steady supply of food, some combination of certain things, etc?  I don’t have an answer to that question, but it is something we should ponder as a society.  Americans already do quite a bit toward this end, but the goal is not reached yet.  Would you be willing to sacrifice some of your wealth for the sake of someone (or many people) to have that minimum threshold of what it means to be human?  Are we capable, as a society of free people, to share a small portion of the rare gift we have been given as Americans?

Your thoughts are welcome.   

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5 Comments

Filed under by DB, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Enough is enough

  1. As a country, most of us are very “what else can I get?” instead of “how can I help those with bigger needs than me?”

    Good post. Thought provoking.

  2. Sheryl

    I agree with you on how much is ‘enough’. As you said, “to whom much is given, much is expected.” We are given much in the country, but in my opinion, aren’t really living up to what God expects of us. In a society of ‘want more’ we need to be content in living within our means and doing what we can to help those that are less fortunate then we are. That’s what God commands of us, and as greedy, self-absorbed Americans, not many do that.
    I’m not saying its a bad thing to strive for a better life, it’s when we continually put wanting more ahead of wanting God’s will for us. Having ‘enough’ isn’t about how much we have, it’s whether or not we use what God has given us to accomplish His will.

  3. As a person who used to live on 75K a year and was forced to learn to live on 30K a year, it’s amazing what we can live without. My dh is on a new, pays much less, career path and I’m in college fulltime(paid for by grants. Thank you all tax payers!). I’m going to school to become a nurse. It’s not just because that is a steady job, it’s more because I believe in giving back to the world. I spent many years praying about what God had in mind for me. I thought my job was to raise my children. Because of a genetic disease, we have 2 children who are now 16 and 18, I realized God had more in store for me. The way my schooling fell into place I feel this is what God wanted me to do. We’ll see. I keep praying.

  4. Pa

    “Go ye therefore into all the world, Baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them… ”
    The problem I see (and I include myself) is that we are so caught up in God’s physical blessings that we don’t seek to enrich the lives of people spiritually. In your post, you talk about America, but the median income of the “poor” in America is over 30K per year and most have at least 2 TVs and at least one microwave in whatever dwelling them live in. The American “poor” are the richest “poor” in the world. Yes, Jesus was concerned about the poor, but also the poor in spirit.
    We have a much bigger problem in this country with the spiritually “poor”. We don’t, even in the church of Christ, spend nearly enough time and blessings on teaching Jesus and him crucified, as we do doleing (sp?) out tons of dollars in contributions and materials to the “poor”.
    Enough is when you find contentment. Paul said he had learned to be content in all circumstances. Enough is learning that true happiness is found not in what you have physically, but what you have spiritually, and are willing to share that when opportunity presents itself.
    Sharing Christ with lost people will produce Enough.

  5. Pingback: thinktrain » Local Links: Down with yawning apathy

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