Questions and Answers – Part 7

Greetings reader!  We are near the end of our questions and answers series which is sad and exciting.

This week I will be tackling 4 questions – one of them deals with “enough” and the other 3 are about prayer.  Here we go.

How do you know when you have enough?

I posted this question on my Facebook page and here are some of the comments that I received:

“I love this question. The societal pressure that says you can never have enough takes our focus off of all the things that really matter. For me, ‘enough’ in the positive is the same as it is in the negative. Negatively, we know we’ve had enough when we feel overwhelmed. Positively, we just have to recognize when we’re overwhelmed — time is spread too thin, our true priorities are minimized, people take a back seat to other things, etc. If you do not value what you already have, then chances are you have already exceeded ‘enough.'” – Deb Calvert

“When you can physically get by in the world… meaning you are not starving or out in the elements. you are able to take care of you and your family. maybe not as comfortably as you would like… but you are still able to have fun/buy something small once in a great while. if that makes since… :)” – Mandy Willis

“A good indicator that you have enough is when you have the luxury of contemplating that question.– Dagney Janette Velazquez

“When my belly hurts!” – Kenneth A. Baker

“When you start to feel guilty about the purchases you have made, the food you have ate … etc.” – Staci Allen

“When it does more harm than good.” – David Salavitch

“When you have something taken from you too soon and it puts things into perspective that mostly it’s just stuff.”  – Melissa Gouldsmith

“When your credit card is yelling “ouch” and you don’t have the last one paid for yet — but your standing in line to buy the newest (can insert about anything)!” – Natalie Wachholtz

“The consensus of our group seemed to be that we have enough when we have a roof over our heads, enough food on the table so we aren’t hungry, and the love of family and friends (and church family). Anything over and above is probably excess.” – Judy Skaggs

I was reading a couple of other articles on this – one of them had to do with Tiny Homes (less than 200 square feet tiny).  One of the questions they asked was could you live with just  100 items in your possession.  If you had to sort through everything you have, could you determine the 100 most important items and then discard everything else?  Later in the article it quoted someone who talked about “claustrophobic abundance.”  In our culture we want bigger houses with more space but we can’t stand open space.  So we buy stuff to put in corners, on the walls, on the floors and ceilings and  that  means these inanimate objects encroach  on our “more” space.

I think that almost every single one of us has enough.  If you have clothes in your dresser, closet, or in storage that you haven’t worn in the last month – you probably have enough.  If you have more than 4 good pairs of shoes – you probably have enough.  If you have food that has been on the shelves of your pantry for more than 30 days – you probably have enough.  If you can stop at Quik Trip anytime you want to for a soda and candy bar – you probably have enough.  If you are making car payments on 2 or more cars that are less than 5 years old – you probably have enough.  If you have rooms in your home that are not used every single day of every single week of every single month of every single year – you probably have enough. 

One of my folks from church sent me an interesting statistic recently – maybe this will put it in perspective.  “If you make $34,000 or more per year then globally you are in the top 1% of wage earners.”  More than half of the world’s population lives off of less than $2 per day.  Could you?  Each of us reading this blog are doing so on a laptop or personal computer which cost almost as much or more than what some people have to live on for an entire year.  With this information – can you now determine if you have enough?

Why are our prayers not answered?  Will all of my waiting, and praying bring me the outcome I think I want?

I thought I would put these  two together because they are birds of the same  feather. 

I want to say this with as much  love as I can – a segment of our prayer life is selfish and any honest Christian would confess this.  No matter what our relationship with God we all ask for what we think we need.  But our minds are limited and our lives are broken.  We cannot know what is actually needed or what is best for our spiritual or physical lives.  Paul said that “we only know in part…” and that  can be applied to our daily existence.  God in perfect wisdom and knowledge understands what we need and when it is needed.  Our prayers are always answered – the rub and angst comes when the answer is not what  we want it to be.  So obviously waiting and praying for the outcome you think you want may work if it is what God wants and it may not.  So what is the answer?

I think the right answer is to find  daily contentment in the presence of God.  Jesus said “Do not worry about tomorrow.  Will worrying about tomorrow add anything to your life?” (my paraphrasing).  Nope!  It will only add more worry  and discontent.  The other thing I would add is to read again the answer to the question just above this set.  Find contentment in what God has already provided; find contentment in family and community; find contentment in God’s presence, love and grace – it truly has the potential to be enough for each and everyone of us!

Has church/will church and  the power of God help my dad be a better person?

It can…for humans nothing is possible but with God all things are possible!  I love that passage of the Bible.  If we will make ourselves open to God’s Spirit life change is possible – transformation  can be experienced.  However we do not believe that God acts in a person’s life without their consent – God can change each of us if we are open  and  willing to be changed.  If you are resistant to God then you will be subject to the whims and ways of this broken world.  God has the power to change anyone – the question is “are we willing to let God do His work?”

Well friends – that does it for another Q&A session.  Next week should be our final entry for this series and then it is on to the next topic – probably something to do with HCI.  Thanks for reading and blessings for the journey!

About Jim Hoffman

Pastor, teacher, leader, novice blogger, wanna be author and Christian conversationalist. Passionate about environmental architecture - creating spaces where people can foster new or growing relationships with each other and God. Currently leads a faith community on Ward Parkway in Kansas City and happily married to Margaret. Blessed with four adult children and two grandsons.
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