How Much is Enough?
One Halloween, when I was about 11 or 12 years old, my parents let me go trick-or-treating by myself with my friends. We carefully planned our route based on an attainable HPH (Homes Per Hour). We were determined to set the Guinness Book of World Records for candy collected in one evening. We started trick-or-treating way too early in the day, stayed out way too late, ran from house to house, and collected our candy in overflowing pillow cases. I was a happy kid that Halloween.
Later that night, we spread our candy out on the floor of my friend’s home. It was the largest collection of candy I had ever seen. We spent hours sorting our candy, trading for our favorite kinds, and munching on candy throughout the night.
I remember one of my friends excusing himself from the room. He was gone for such a long time that I started to get worried, so I went searching for him. I soon found him in the bathroom, sick from eating too much candy! That was when I learned that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
Attempting to set the Guinness World Record for candy collecting is a pretty innocent desire for an 11-year-old, but as I’ve grown up I’ve too often traded my candy collecting for the collecting of gadgets, accomplishments, or endless projects. I have to ask myself, “How much is enough?”
“How much is enough?” In a culture guided by shiny, life-promising distractions, “enough” seems elusive and keeps us chasing the next quick fix. Obviously, toys, candy, gadgets and projects aren’t always a bad thing, but there does come a point when we find ourselves putting our pursuit of “more” before our pursuit of God.
Jesus tells us in Matt 6:33, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well…” Candy, toys, and gadgets are all fine, but we are told to seek Jesus first. And when we do, “all these things will be given to you as well.” That sounds like “enough” to me.
I have found when I seek Jesus first in all aspects of my life—before possessions, gadgets, toys, houses, cars, careers, busy schedules, even before family and friends— I am less likely to be in hot pursuit of the shiny, life-promising distractions of this world and am more likely to be filled with gratitude and joyfully give to others.
I hope you can join us these next two weeks at Hope as we look at the many things that keep us from seeking Jesus first and from the life-giving joy that comes when we properly align our pursuits.