Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.
-- Gen 33:11
The new year will begin in just a few hours. I reflect on what this old year has been – I ask myself if I have done all that I was supposed to do, that I needed to do, that I wanted to do. And the answer again this year would be – no. I haven’t cleaned all the closets, gone through all the boxes in the garage. Projects and papers undone, unfinished, unstarted, unwritten. Weight gained, exercise programs abandoned. Prayers unprayed, sermons unpreached, I am such a perfectionist, I cannot ever believe that I have done good enough. I cannot believe that I have cared enough, loved enough, worked enough or been good enough.
And I reflect about the word enough. It literally means “an adequate quantity, a quantity large enough to achieve a purpose, as much as necessary.”* An adequate quantity. We don’t like to think about our efforts being ‘merely’ adequate. Adequate means (at least to us) that we haven’t tried hard enough. We want to be more than adequate. We want to be exemplary. The best of the best. We crave adulation and applause. Is adequate a bad thing? Adaquate means “meeting the requirements of a task, enough to achieve a purpose.”*
What here is my purpose? I love the Westminster confession of faith and the Larger Catechism. The very first question is: “What is the chief and highest end of man? Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.” Cross referenced is John 17:21-23 “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
Purpose is glorifying God and enough is dwelling in God’s love. I have enough, I am enough. God has sent me, God has sent you. If we try to be sufficent, enough on our own, we will fail. God’s grace is what makes us enough. There will always be things undone – projects, weight loss programs, embroidery, writings, dishes, laundry. But this year there has been enough. Enough money that we have not been hungry. Enough shelter that we have not gone homeless. Enough love for me and my family, for my friends and my church family.
And I have tried to share that love that God has shown me – have I done that enough? I look at the reports from TV and see the death and destruction, I see homeless and hungry people, people dying from lack of cool, clear, safe water. And I grieve. I ask for God’s Holy Spirit to flow down on those that don’t have a sufficient amount, who don't have enough. I grieve when I see small graves for drowned infants or I see mass graves where the bodies are tossed like broken dolls, not even placed in their graves with love and care. And I grieve. How can I be so blessed and so many hundreds of thousands be suffering? I have no answer – I can hope and trust that God’s grace can be sufficient. But I grieve, I give what little I can and I pray that God can make it enough.
The baby came at Christmas and we hold Him in our hearts – the new year comes as soft and gentle as a babe. Let this new year not be orphaned.
* according to our friends at www.cogsci.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/webwn.