They are two questions we all ask, whether consciously or unconsciously. And we ask them both at all stages of our lives. The first question is simple, “Will I have enough?” The second, still simple, but more important is, “Will I be enough?”
Will I have enough? The small youngster stands at the counter and thinks, “Do I have enough change in my pocket to buy this candy?” Years later, he worries, “Do I have enough money to go to college?” Then, “Do I have enough to put a down payment on this house?” And so on. Finally, he worries, “Will I have enough saved to get us through our retirement years?”
The world around us fuels this question. It says you must have enough, whether it is earned or borrowed. And they determine exactly what is exactly enough. It goes from having the best toy, the right college, the right car to the right house in the right neighborhood.
Finally, when you get to be my age, you can worry if you are going to have the financial resources to make it through retirement. Will I have enough to live on until I die? It is estimated that in order to maintain their lifestyle in retirement, households need about 70 percent of preretirement income on average. Under current law, Social Security can replace about 36 percent of that total. (That’s assuming Social Security is still around when you retire!) Making up the rest, huge possible medical bills and other potential financial obligations do cause you to think, “Will I have enough?”
But there is the other, even more important question – Will I be enough? The frightened child walking through the doors of the schoolhouse his first day of school. That first day of a challenging job. Looking at the newborn baby you’re getting ready to take home. Staring at illness, or the various problems of getting older. Will I be enough? Will I be able to handle it?
In the Bible, the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians while he was in prison, soon before his death. In the letter, he pretty well answers those questions. Will I have enough? He wrote, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19) Notice he did not say “all your wants.” Will I be enough? Paul writes, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Remember this is from a man in a stinking Roman prison facing death. Paul knew that the God he trusted would provide and enable him. Paul “learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Phil. 4:11)
God is described in the Bible in various ways and is often given names that show His many attributes. In Genesis, He is called Jehovah-Jireh. This has been translated as “God Our Provider.” But I have also seen Jehovah-Jireh translated as “The God That Is More Than Enough.”
Will I have enough? Will I be enough? As I think about these two questions, my mind goes back to last Saturday night, sitting at the bedside of my Aunt Martha. Later that night, she would pass away, just one day after her 85th birthday. She had enough. Uncle Clifford had worked hard and provided well so that they both could make it during their retirement years. But that wasn’t important that night. Would she be able to be enough to make it through life’s final test? Death. The important and everlasting truth was that Aunt Martha didn’t have to be enough early Sunday morning. The God, that is More Than Enough, made her enough through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. She knew that, accepted and believed that, and was ready. So yes, she was enough, because her God was more than enough.
Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at [email protected]