What is Enough?

Robert Thomas Quiring —  April 9, 2014

PrintThe richest person in history, John D. Rockefeller, was once asked, “How much is Enough?”  His response, “Just a little bit more.”

We have this innate human characteristic to always want a little more – to believe that we never have Enough.  Additionally, Ad companies spend billions of dollars a year to remind us that we don’t have Enough.  Companies spent $65 billion on TV ads in 2012 in just the US.

Someone recommended I read J.D Roth’s book Your Money: The Missing Manual and I was fascinated when he began talking about how intricately our happiness is linked to our notion of Enough.  He went on to argue that chasing Enough distracts us from the most important things in life: friends, family, church, and activities that give us true joy.  The things that actually do make us happy.

And as Christians, think of how important our understanding of Enough is for our relationship with God and our relationship with our neighbor.  I am guilty of being blinded by the thinking of, “I will work on that once I have Enough.” I will work on my relationship with my friends…  I will work on my relationship with my partner…  I will work on my relationship with God…  But what if I always want just a little bit more?

So, what is Enough?  Well, what’s Enough for you usually won’t be Enough for your neighbor, so determining what is Enough is a personal process.  The main step is to take some time to really think about what having Enough looks like for you.  The most difficult step is being disciplined and sticking to it.  For once you reach your goal of Enough – your instinct is going to be to want just a little bit more – but do you really need a little bit more?

Kurt Vonnegut wrote about a conversation he had with Joseph Heller in the New Yorker.  “The two writers were at a party thrown by a billionaire when Vonnegut joked, “How does it feel to know that our host makes more in one day than Catch-22 [Heller’s best-known work] has made in its entire history?”  Heller responded, “I’ve got something he can never have.  I’ve got Enough.””

Robert Thomas Quiring

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Robert is currently serving as an Senior Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Pensacola, Florida. Robert is a husband, father, pastor, sweet tea lover, technology enthusiast-er, and webmaster of Masterin' the Pastorin'.