When it comes to sweet and salty, I don’t always know what amount is enough.
I find restaurant french fries are often my nemesis…they are humbling to me as well.
As a family we have gone to a restaurant called Swiss Chalet. Sometimes my food comes before the kids’ food or Ted’s so they lean in and grab a fry. It REALLY annoys me! I usually snap that it is my food so keep your hands to yourself.
However, later when my stomach is screaming at me that it is full, I must push on and fight the good fight of eating every last french fry lest someone say, “See Nancy? You could have shared cuz you couldn’t eat them all always!”
One time Ted and I went to a restaurant called the Butcher and Banker. Ted’s meal came with regular fries but I paid the extra to get sweet potato fries. When our plates were served there was a noticeable difference between Ted’s Mount Everest pile of regular fries and my puny serving size of sweet potato fries.
Heck no, I wasn’t going to accept this hardship so I called the waitress over and pointed out the offensive act. I asked if this was normal and she told me that yes, it was, because sweet potato fries are more expensive. I maturely rolled my eyes at the injustice I was having to accept and then proceeded to eat my meal.
I was so full after the main portion that I was having a hard time finishing the fries but I didn’t want to give the waitress the opportunity to think, “See? You couldn’t even finish the ones we gave you but you just HAD to complain that it wasn’t enough!” And so I continued to stuff my face until every last french fry was in my overfilled gullet.
I think I live with this mentality of ‘not enough’ in many areas of my life. I’d like to complain to the Waiter. I think I have a scarce life. I’m scarce on time. I’m scarce on money. I’m scarce on food and treats. I’m scarce on time for myself. I’m scarce on talent or ability. I think I use my mentality of ‘scarcity’ to excuse me from different opportunities to help or make a difference.
I started to think on this because of Exodus 16 where the Isrealite community was in the desert after escaping Egypt. They were grumbling to Moses saying that they wished they had died in Egypt.
They said, “There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, …” (v 3). When the LORD gave manna and quail as a solution to the problem He says, “The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.” (v4)
Other language used in this chapter is “You will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning…” (v8) “…and in the morning you will be filled with bread.”
The key verses, though, that stood out to me were in v16 – “Each one is to gather as much as he needs.” and v17 – “…some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed.”
This hit me. In the desert, they didn’t have oodles and oodles but they had ENOUGH. There wasn’t scarcity. There was ABUNDANCE for THAT DAY.
But I think our current definition of abundance is skewed. I think we’ve started to think that we need to have oodles and oodles of something in order to give it away.
We need to be overflowing in quantity…we need to have an excess. Only then do we have ENOUGH. Only then do we have an ABUNDANCE to give from.
I spent some time on these definitions and so here are some synonyms for these three words:
Scarcity – short supply; lack; in want; shortage; inadequate; insufficient; undersupply
Abundance – very large quantity; copious quantity; plentifulness; overflowing; abound; ample; affluence; wealth
Enough – as much or as many as required; sufficient; adequate; ample; quantity/quality to fully meet demands, needs and expectations; quantity that is the sufficient amount necessary for satisfaction
I have watched my parents be generous in multiple ways of life while I have sat by watching or receiving. If I’m honest, it has only been in the last 6 months where I think I am learning to be generous.
The other day my neighbor was sharing how her and her husband were trying to dig up grass for a new walkway. She has been battling cancer the last year and so has lost most of her physical strength for the time-being. I walked home intending to sit down and do my own thing.
In my head, though, I kept thinking how I work out a ton right now. I have an abundance of strength and energy. I have abundant fitness and health. So I dragged my two oldest across the street and we dug that grass up for over an hour. In the midst of it I joked with the kids that their dad would have finished in 15 minutes. But you know what? That doesn’t matter.
I have MY OWN abundance. I had ENOUGH to get the job done.
Regardless of whether or not Ted would have finished faster or better, I was not scarce. I was not scarce on strength or fitness or ability.
These last 3 months I’ve been given the gift of an abundance of time where I would normally describe my life as scarce on time. I would proudly tell people how busy I was and how much running around there was to do with 4 kids. Currently, though, we have nothing. Covid has kept us home. I have nothing BUT time!
So a few weeks ago Summer and I started a baking mission. Every week we have baked over 100 sugar cookies and then we make a list of 5 or 6 people that week that we can deliver the cookies to…people who need it. Sometimes I balk at the length of the car drive, but then I realize…I’ve been given an abundance of time right now.
And maybe when covid is over, I will still see that I still have enough time…that I don’t need to always fill my spare time by creating errands to the mall, or over-the-river shopping or coming up with other things I need to buy. Maybe when this is over, I can keep up the cookie mission because I will have learned I have enough time.
We’ve all been given 24 hours every day. And whether you have 5 minutes to bring someone a coffee or 6 hours to bake, ice, box cookies and drive all over the region to deliver them…they are both enough.
Five minutes of time is enough and so is 6 hours. Five minutes can be equal to 6 hours if you use it right. Five minutes can be greater than 6 hours if you use it to bless others.
to use you,
whatever enough looks like.
My muscles aren’t the biggest in the world, but they are still enough to help someone. My bank account isn’t the biggest in the world, but it has enough to give something. When life post-covid resumes, I have 4 kids, a job and some side tasks that need to get finished.
I don’t have all the time in the world…but I still have enough time…time to even bless IN those things…bring joy to clients as I massage them and talk to them; be patient and listen to my kids or engage them in conversation as we drive to their activities; sit on the porch with my husband and listen to him…there is enough time.
I have enough time. My days will be enough. If I get 90 years worth or if I get 42…it will have been enough.
Those Israelites had enough for THAT day. That was all they needed. One day at a time. And if they gathered much, it was enough. If they gathered little, that too was enough.
Where do you tend to think you don’t have enough? How much is enough? What do you have right now that is YOUR perfect amount of enough that God has given you? How can you give it away?
I promise that I will let my kids have some fries the next time we eat out. Well, maybe just one…