a theology of enough {part 3}

We can end extreme poverty in our generation, but neither charity nor governmental will change the world.  Transformation must come from some place deeper.

American consumer appetites are unsustainable.  Our avarice perpetuates injustice while exploiting people and the earth.

It's not a secret, is it?  It's more like the elephant in the well-appointed room.  It grows wide like greed, and we pretend to ignore it, sipping nonfat lattes and nervously tapping laptops.

Guilt never moved a mountain, and it won't bridge the global divide either.  If we truly want to imagine another way, we're going to have to change our hearts--and move our feet.

A Theology of Enough

When I was at Relevant, Shaun Groves told the story of God providing manna in the wilderness for his beloved, ungrateful people.  It was a gift, and all the Israelites had to do was collect it from the ground where it appeared:
The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed. (Exodus 16:16-18)
God provided enough for each day's need.  If they attempted to hoard it, the manna became infested.

If we're honest, our habits have grown a bit maggoty too, haven't they?

The I Wants and I Deserves echo in my mind.  The sound is petulant and shrill, but I can't pretend it isn't my own voice clamoring More.

The thing about lust is that it promises things it cannot deliver.  There never really was joy in the getting.  A small buzz, yes, but the hangover's a bitch.

Somehow, more stuff always feels like less.


Paul writes to encourage the church at Corinth to "excel in the grace of giving."  They've begun walking a generous path and he wants them to engage more deeply:
Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” (2 Corinthians 8:13-15)
If we believe that each one bears the image of the Maker, no matter the geography, color or income, we can't keep gathering too much for ourselves.  Our plenty is more than sufficient to supply their need.  Grasping hands must let go if everyone is to have enough. 

You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? (Luke 12:20)

Can I trust God to provide like he promised, or will I hoard the excess until it rots in my hands?  Can I remember that abundant life isn't about possessions at all?  Will I be obedient to the call to carry a cross?

We've got some idols to raze, friends.

This is the third installment in a series about the intersection of 
faith, justice, consumerism and poverty. 


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