A blog post by Kaye Cagle
Today, I had a new thought. Sometimes an idea hits me so hard that I dwell on it and develop it in my brain. Oddly enough, it usually happens quickly. Then it spills out in my writing.
A book called “More or Less” written by Jeff Shinabarger focuses on something I understand but have never understood more clearly. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I watched his “More or Less” video and did not read the book, but I got the same result. ) When it comes to possessions, we live in one of three states: Excess, Enough, Suffering. I actually think that’s true of every area of our lives – love, friends, emotion, etc. But back to possessions.
Under my bed, I have two large storage boxes. One is for brown shoes and one is for black. Actually, I have so many black shoes, some are even in my closet floor, like my boots (flat and heeled) and evening shoes. My colored shoes are in there too. I have some cute dark red ones I wear occasionally, striped sandals, “real” cowboy boots that I love, athletic shoes I wear too seldom, a literal box of flip flops for the pool, and even a pair of saddle shoes for the occasional 50′s party.
The truth is I’m not even a “shoe hound”. Shoes aren’t that important to me, but I tend to hang on to them too long and they multiply. The irony is that I work at a place where people are desperate for shoes. At MUST Ministries, thousands of people come through our doors, hoping for that right pair of shoes for an interview or sending their teenagers to school. They need them. I have them. I don’t need them all. I live in excess.
Now let’s apply that to other things. The “More or Less” video talked about Jeff’s family needing to go to the grocery store because they were out of everything. They decided to try an experiment. What if they didn’t go? What if they just ate the food in the pantry and the freezer first? That lasted weeks. Good cost savings too. They THOUGHT they were suffering, but they were living in excess.
Speaking of cost savings, let’s talk about enough money. Why do we think we never have enough? Because when we get more, we want more, so we spend more. Someone once asked Rockefeller, “How much is enough?” and he replied, “A little bit more.” (Quote from the video.) Spoken like a true man of excess. It’s never good enough.
Why aren’t we giving more? True, MUST needs shoes and food and toiletries and sack lunches and blankets and…. the list goes on. But what MUST – and most charities – needs most is money. It takes a lot to help 34,000 people a year with employment services, housing, hot meals and case workers. When I give a pair of old shoes, am I really giving out of my excess? Or am I just cleaning out my closet and making myself feel better?
Can I sacrifice more for others? Can I forego a fast food lunch and take a peanut butter sandwich to work all week so 25 hungry children can have a sack lunch this summer? I’m not even sure THAT is giving out of excess, but it’s a start.
What’s enough is going to look different for you and me. I’m not going to judge your giving if you won’t judge mine. I’m just challenging us to look at what God has given us and ask ourselves the hard questions. Where do I live? If I live in excess, I need to share. I have to decide what is “enough” and that’s something I don’t often think about. If I’m suffering in an area, maybe I have to humble myself and ask for help.
Excess. Enough. Suffering. With our possessions, including money, where do we live? And where do we WANT to live? More importantly, what are we going to do about it?