There Is Always Enough
Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.Matthew 11:28
Not enough. It’s the cry of our times. It’s our dominant narrative, our underlying assumption, our bottom line. There’s not enough money, not enough time, not enough resources, not enough power, not enough recognition, not enough love. Not enough of anything. The hope that one day we’ll finally be satisfied always seems just out of arm’s reach. So we carry on running round the proverbial hamster wheel, exhausted and going nowhere.
It causes us to live in a state of fear and anxiety, always worried that we won’t have enough, do enough, be enough. We become paralysed, unable to reach out beyond ourselves. If there’s not enough for us, how can we be expected to give to others?
I see it in our government, the way we run our schools, our businesses, our health and social care; I see it in our response to the poor, the vulnerable, the refugee.
I see it in myself, in the way I sometimes hold onto things with clenched fists, anxious that if I share there won’t be enough left for me. I see it in the times I feel uncomfortable making room for others out of fear that the space I occupy will be diminished.
The good news, though, is that another way is possible. In the stories of the Bible, we are invited to reimagine the world, not as a place of scarcity, but as a place of generosity and abundance, a place where everyone can thrive.
For Christians, God’s overwhelming generosity is centred in Jesus. The accounts of his life provide story after story whispering to us of another kingdom — a place where there is healing, acceptance, provision, inclusion, forgiveness. And in his death and resurrection he pays off the debt we could never pay ourselves — he dies our death so we can live his life.
The question is how do we live in such a story, when the world of ‘not enough’ seems so much more believable? How do we imagine anything better is possible when the work is piling up and the money is running out and we are constantly exhausted? How do we believe in the generosity of God when the world seems actively designed to benefit the rich while the poor and the vulnerable suffer? It is no easy task.
I want to suggest that we might begin with three small, subversive acts.
The first is gratitude.
Being thankful is such a powerful way of rebelling against the kingdom of ‘not enough.’ It reminds us to be content with what we already have rather than continuously grasping and grabbing for more. It takes the focus from lack to provision in one small word: thank you.
The second is remembering.
We have to keep retelling our stories, allowing them to reshape our thinking, our attitudes and our actions. That’s why the faithful church is much more than an exclusive social club. It is called to be an inclusive and generous community that reminds people over and over again who they really are and how much they are really loved, without condition.
The third is rest.
In Mark’s gospel, there’s an interesting moment where Jesus gets in trouble with the Pharisees for healing someone on the Sabbath, when he’s supposed to be resting from work. But when we are truly in a place of rest, we find we have the capacity to look outside ourselves and towards the needs of our neighbours. In the words of theologian, Walter Brueggemann, we ‘have enough energy to dream and hope. [And] from dreams and hopes come such neighbourly miracles as good health care, good schools, good houses, good care for the earth and disarmament.’ (Journey to the Common Good, p. 35). Because of God’s generosity, we are finally able to live in ways which allow the world and all who are in it to flourish.
Photo: Wheat Fields 2 by Yazeed