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Enough is Enough

Americans have been hoodwinked into believing that more is better than enough. In order for the economy to be healthy, we’re told that our markets must be ever-expanding and adding new jobs each month and surpassing last year’s profits—which is dependent upon an ever-growing population that eagerly consumes everything. Capitalism creates a marketplace frenzy that never allows producers to rest because if they do someone else will take their place.

Imagine a company saying to its employees, “We’ve met our production goals this year, even though we’re only nine months into the year. But you helped us achieve our goals and we have decided for now that we have produced enough. So, we’re going to stop for the next three months and give everyone a paid sabbatical.” That would be radical because in our culture we’re told we can never achieve enough. We are pushed to produce more than enough. Enough is viewed as less than our best—a mark on the way to success. Success is when you go over the top, dominate and ruin your competition.

I’d like to interrupt this way of thinking with the idea that enough is a healthy, biblical concept that we should embrace. Enough is enough. When we believe that enough is OK, we give ourselves room to be, instead of continually spending all of our capital on trying to become.

When Israel journeyed through the wilderness, God sustained them with manna, a substance that miraculously fell on the desert floor each night, was white like coriander seed, and tasted like honey wafers. The people were instructed to make it part of their diet, which they gladly did since there was very little else to eat.

God gave them specific instructions about when and how to gather it. They were to pick it up in the morning, before the heat of the day (otherwise it would melt), and they could only gather two quarts per person, per day.

“‘These are the Lord’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts for each person in your tent.’ So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little. But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed” (Exodus 16:16-18, NLT).

If they tried to gather more than could be eaten in one day, it would spoil and become rotten. The only day they could gather enough for two days was Friday, when each person could collect enough for Friday and Sabbath.

This beautifully illustrates the concept of living one day at a time. Two quarts of manna were all a person could gather because it was enough. Likewise, God doesn’t give us everything we need for next year, next month, or even next week. Thus we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

The Sabbath is a celebration of the enough principle. Each week we spend six days of uninterrupted labor building, gathering, storing, manufacturing and producing until we are exhausted. We use our God-given abilities to eke out an existence on a fractured planet, then, after day six God says, “It is enough. Stop what you’re doing and rest, reflect, and be healed.”

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About Rich DuBose

Rich DuBose

is director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference.

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