More Than Enough | Becky Johnston

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My story is no different from many of yours. I grew up in a home with “enough”. We had a nice home, our needs were met, we vacationed yearly, and I never questioned if bills would or could be paid.

Because of my Mom’s frugal lifestyle, I was drawn to “stuff”. She was by nature a saver, so rather than inherit that wisdom, I tended to rebel by spending. In fact, when Dan met my Dad for the first time, Daddy told him “If Becky has a dollar, the world has a dollar.”

Shopping became a comfort to me. Where some turn to food if there’s a need for healing balm or celebratory reward, I shop. Never anything huge- more along the lines of buying new pens (my weakness), a new lipstick, or new shoes. I have become a skilled buyer- and it provides a quick fix to whatever life throws my way.

When Dan and I first were married, we made negative dollars a year. I was working in full time ministry, he was in Medical School. We lived beyond our means and accrued far too much debt. This pained Dan far more than it did me- I had grown up never having to deal with the repercussions of too little money, so I just assumed it would work itself out.

It did not.

In 2003, we moved into a new job and new home at the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem. I was the night manager and we lived in the apartment downstairs at the House. Our hope was that in cutting our rent and utilities, we could quickly get ourselves out of debt and live more within our means.

On one Sunday afternoon, I was on the phone with one of my good friends whose husband was coming to help Dan fix our (again) broken down car. I was doing my general griping to her about our financial situation, and she said- gently and boldly- “Becky, do y’all tithe?”

I had grown up giving to the church and knowing that I was supposed to give 10%, but that had never been something we had regularly done.

Sheepishly, I responded to my friend, “I mean, well, I mean... sort of?”

She explained to me that while they had little money, she understood God had called them to give- in spite of their want of more. She went on to tell me stories of how, again and again, they would give more and their needs would be met. She gave witness to God's faithfulness to provide when they were faithful to give.

Let me pause by saying this: I am not a fan of the recent rise in “name it and claim it” theology. I do not support the Prosperity Gospel, nor do I believe that if I just speak something into being, God will bless it. I am fully aware that in addition to tithing, I need to do basic things to ensure our financial stability- like pay our bills.

However, her challenge to me has stayed with me. When we write our tithe checks, I am grateful to be in better financial standing to be able to do so. That doesn’t mean that since that Sunday in 2003 I have turned my financial life around. I am (still) a spender... I (still) buy pens, lipstick, shoes.

Yet in this season of praying about how to give more, her words are lingering in my mind. Do I have all the pens, lipsticks, and shoes I need? Absolutely. Actually, I have More than Enough. Why not use our resources better to be stewards of what we’ve been given?

I am grateful for my friend’s boldness. I am a bit anxious in sharing this with you all- because the area of money is the biggest weakness and trigger in my life. But I share it to challenge us all- to challenge myself- to focus on the issue of my heart and not just my wallet. May we all see where we have More than Enough- and be content there. And may we share our excess in ways that the Kingdom of God is blessed.
 

Fr. Steve Rice