These days I'm learning the definition of Sufficiency. The lesson of Enough.
"This is the word of the God of Israel: 'The jar of flour will not run out and the bottle of oil will not become empty...' " 1 Kings 17:14a MSG
There is a neat story behind that verse - a three year drought resulted in a famine and an old woman and her son were on the verge of death. The prophet Elijah showed up (God told him to) and asked for a drink and something to eat. I can just feel the exasperation, the despair in this woman's heart when she responds to him, "Are you kidding? I have just enough wood, flour and oil to make a final meal for me and my son. When we're done with that, it's all gone, and we're going to die of starvation. And you want dinner?!" (1 Kings 17:12, my version)
But he assures her that her respect for his position will be honored and she makes him dinner. And for the remainder of the drought, this woman, her son, and Elijah had food to eat.
Pretty neat, huh? Talk about a leap of faith. (You can read an inspiring sermon on this story on the Sermon Notebook website.)
What I noticed about this story is that God didn't send a banquet. He didn't cause a garden to sprout in her backyard. He sent Enough.
I believe that one of the greatest counterfeits of the Christian faith is the lie of More: that Enough isn't sufficient. We are tempted by the lie that while meeting our needs is okay, having More is the true marker of a mature, successful Christian. A successful life.
And as if that wasn't difficult to maneuver, there's this twist:
Each person's Enough is different. So we see one person that seems to have More, and we feel discontent; then we see another's gift of Enough as failure.
My lesson? That God has promised that I will always have enough. That my needs will always be met. That what He provides will be sufficient for my needs.
"You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus." Phillipians 4:19 MSG
"By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life." 1 Peter 1:3a NLT
When I look around me and want the things that God has decided are not necessary for me, I run the risk of cultivating an ungrateful, dis-contented heart. I begin to believe the lie that 'more' is the definition of success, that 'more' will bring me joy.
On the flip side, when I choose to be content with the Enough that I have from God's hand, I am on my way to spiritual maturity:
"These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires." 1 Peter 1:4b
And when I begin to do that, I begin to see clearly that true success, true joy, are the moments when I am focused on simply doing the task that God has given me to do; resting in the knowledge that as I am focused on fulfilling His purpose for my life, He is focused on providing just what my soul needs to become like Jesus, and just what my body needs to perform His purpose.
There may not be much left over. But there will always be Enough.