November is a time to think about all the things you are thankful for. When I was in grade school, I remember tracing my hand on a colorful piece of construction paper and cutting it out very carefully. Slowly, the hand turned into a turkey. We would write down all of the things that we were thankful for on its construction-paper feathers: usually mom and dad, brother or sister, a favorite toy, best friends, or the like.
When you get older, November turns into Christmas prep time. You are exposed to a culture of wanting more and more things that you do not need. Think about food, for example. A common coping mechanism for stress is eating, even when you are not hungry. This is a form of wanting more but not needing more to satisfy hunger. Online shopping is also a big temptation. I, especially, have this problem. I use it as a coping mechanism for stress. This is not healthy, and I constantly have to monitor myself. Seeing the cutest dress online or the greatest sale of the year at my favorite store may be tempting, but then I think about my closet full of clothes. I may not have the trendiest clothing, but I have enough.
The Importance of Enough
The importance of enough is hard to fathom sometimes. When is enough enough? Enough is supposed to be when you feel satisfied in your life. But when do you ever feel truly satisfied? Even when you buy that piece of clothing or overindulge between meals, there is always a feeling of “what’s next?”
It is important to be grateful for the things we have in life. There are people who may not have a bed to sleep in, proper clothing, or a meal to eat. During the holiday season, we think about others who are less fortunate than ourselves: people who live out of shopping carts. People whose bed is next to the busy street. Jesus lived a simple life with no earthly belongings. Without want of more food or more clothing, He continued to spread the Word of God. Even when others were empty of satisfaction, Jesus always forgave them.
The Parable of the Two Debtors
Think of the account in Luke chapter 7. Jesus was invited to dinner with Simon. A sinful woman heard of Jesus’ dinner, and she met him there with perfume in hand. The woman knelt before the Son of God and kissed His feet, washing them with her tears. Simon, a Pharisee, saw this and addressed the woman. “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner” (v. 39). Jesus told him of a parable, in which two men borrowed money from a moneylender. One borrowed five hundred denarii, and the other borrowed fifty. When they could not pay their debts, the moneylender canceled both.
Simon did not kiss Jesus; the woman kissed his feet. Simon did not give Jesus water to wash; the woman wet his feet with her tears. Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little” (v. 47).
This story contains several lessons. One is that Jesus forgives sinners. Another is that we are all sinners, and we are all forgiven equally.
Children often find the things they are grateful for from their parents or teachers. It’s not until children are older that they can recognize and be truly grateful for the things they have. They see what others may or may not have. What is important is to be grateful for what you have—including the gift of salvation in Christ.
This November, don’t get caught up in the stress of preparation for Christmas, but enjoy the anticipation and be grateful for what you have. God has given you this moment. Be thankful. The next time you walk by a store with the cutest piece of clothing or the bag of chips promising to help you cope with a bad day, understand that you have enough. Acknowledge that you are a beloved child of God. Without Him, we would all be lost in this world of sin. Romans 11:36 says, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.” God has blessed you with this life, with those that care about you and cherish your presence. Be present instead of wanting more, and be thankful for what you have.
When more is attained, it rarely satisfies. Explore the idea of enough in …