Thanksgiving is the day when we wonder if we’ll have enough. We bought a 20 pound turkey. Will it be enough to feed everyone? We plan on mashing a dozen potatoes, but what if that’s not enough? We baked three pies. But that might not be enough if Uncle John shows up. — Yet how often does it ever happen that we don’t have enough for our Thanksgiving meal? It’s almost always the opposite. We usually have so much that we end up eating leftovers clear ’til Christmas.
Isn’t that the way it is in all aspects of our lives? The Lord not only gives us enough. He usually gives us more than enough. Who of us can’t join David in saying: “My cup runneth over!”?
Unfortunately we don’t always see it that way. How often don’t we find ourselves complaining and worrying because we feel we just don’t have enough? We need a new car but the money just isn’t there. That couch is ready to fall apart, but we have too many bills to think about getting a new one. The remodeling project we planned–well, we just can’t afford it!
On and on it goes. We never have enough. But is this true? Are we really lacking the things we need?
If we take an honest look at the situation, we will probably find that the things we don’t have are things we really don’t need. The old Ford really could be repaired and we could get by with the old couch a little while longer. The things we really need we still have. The Lord has never failed to give us these.
In fact, He usually gives us way more than we need. Even the poorest of us have televisions sets, microwaves, and VCR’s. Most of us probably have two or more vehicles. Many of us have boats, snowmobiles, and RV’s. Few of us can’t afford to take a nice vacation once in awhile. Is it really that we don’t have enough of this world’s goods, or could it be that we don’t have enough faith to see that the cup of our life is filled to overflowing?
But our dissatisfaction comes from more than just failing to recognize that we have been richly blessed with all that we need for our physical lives. The deeper problem is that we often fail to recognize what it means to be truly blessed. Daily we are tempted to believe that our personal happiness is based on the amount of earthly possessions we own. “He who dies with the most toys wins!” is today’s attitude. This is in sharp contrast to what Jesus ways: “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mk. 8:36)
How can we tell if we’ve begun to be sold on the “buy it and you’ll be happy” sales pitch of the world?
We could look at our offerings to the Lord. Is a love for material things keeping us from giving the Lord our firstfruits? We could look at how much time we spend at work. Does a desire for more of this world’s goods causes us to spend so much time working that it cuts into the amount of time we spend with God’s Word? Does such a desire cut into family time? We could look at our decision to be a double-income family. (We are thinking in particular of families with pre-school age children.)
Maybe both we and our spouse do need to work in order to make enough money to clothe, feed, and shelter the family. But maybe both spouses work because dad doesn’t make enough to buy the things the world says we need to make us happy. Only with the Lord’s help can we evaluate these things as we ought. Only the Lord knows our hearts. Only He can truly judge our motives.
–And only He can renew our hearts and help us see that true satisfaction and contentment are the result of knowing His Son by faith. Whether we always fully realize it or not, we as Christians have more than enough: We have Jesus! With Him we have what money could never buy!
*We have all our sins washed away. *We have peace for our guilt-tormented hearts. *We have the guarantee that God hears and answers all our prayers. *We have the assurance that all things in this sin-troubled world
work for our good. *We have an escape from death and hell. *We have the resurrection of the body and eternal life. *We have the Word and Sacraments to lift us above the worldly idea of
what true happiness is all about.
Jesus once said: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (Jn. 10:10). Jesus fills our lives to overflowing! More than likely (even if Uncle John is in attendance) we’ll have more than enough food for our Thanksgiving meal! Most certainly, since Jesus is our God and Savior, we already have more than enough of everything we need!
–Pastor Michael Wilke