“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. . .”
– Matthew 6:19-20
How much is enough? Arguably, this may be one of the most relevant questions of our modern age in the Western world. If we base our evidence on the excessive consumption, we see around us there is no doubt about the extraordinary buying power that exists in our world today. But is there a direct correlation between more and happier, and if so how much is enough?
Isabel was a Honduran woman who resided in a deeply impoverished barrio community just outside the city of Tegucigalpa. For a week she and I worked side by side on a project where in a short time we became great friends. At the end of that week as we were saying goodbye Isabel hugged me, then handed me a sweet note written in Spanish on a small tattered card about the size of a business card. I didn’t know what it said but I clearly understood the message. What struck me about Isabel and others within her community was that in spite of their poverty they were extraordinarily happy people.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, perhaps the most renowned servant of the poor in our modern age, once noted of the Western world, “I have walked at night in your streets, I have entered your homes. I have found in them more poverty than in India.” What she was referring to was not economic poverty, but poverty of the soul. Which begs the question, how much is enough?
To live in a place where opportunities abound for financial success is a blessing and a privilege, but what are we to do with our abundance and how much is enough? The answer is that enough requires two things. First we must recognize that more is never enough, for it never satisfies. And next our hearts must be transformed from selfish desires to selfless concerns, to helping others and serving God. In other words, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. . .”