ColumnsNaming Grace

Enough, in Christ

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Ten years after her death, people still comment on my mother’s hospitality. “I don’t know how she did it. Whenever we stopped by, she could take two pieces of chicken and make it into a complete meal for eight.” Mom sent no one away without an invitation for at least a cup of coffee and a roll. She always commented, “People don’t care about the food, they just want to be together.” Lacking her confidence, I think, “There’s not enough. It won’t be good enough. The house isn’t clean enough.” This slides into, “I don’t have enough.” And then, “I’m not good enough.”
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In this Sunday’s Gospel, the disciples were operating from a “not enough” mentality as they reported to Jesus that, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have.” Certainly, they were thinking, “We’re not enough to feed this many people. Let them go away.” But Jesus responds differently: “Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied.” Jesus took the “not enough” and blessed it into “more than enough.” The disciples had forgotten who they were with — who is enough.
We default into “not enough,” when we believe we lack food, money, time, talent … you name it. Brene Brown, author of “Daring Greatly,” writes: “Scarcity thrives in a culture where everyone is hyperaware of lack. … We spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how much we have, want, and don’t have, and how much everyone else has, needs and wants.” Many of us wake up thinking we’ve had “not enough” sleep, approach the day with “not enough” time, work with “not enough” resources, parent with “not enough” energy or skill, live with “not enough” love.
The truth is none of us is “enough.” The antidote for “not enough” is not daydreaming, riches (many rich people still chase enough), or even minimalism. The remedy rests not in seeking “enough,” but in having Jesus Christ at our center and asking his blessing upon each day, each person, and each situation in our lives. Jesus is the only way to enough and not just enough, but the way to an abundant, grace-filled life. Remember, the crowd ate and had their fill, with 12 wicker baskets of fragments — that’s grace!
Parents and grandparents name grace — God’s abundant presence — each time we ask his blessing and then trust in enough. We have enough wisdom to make good decisions for our children/families; enough faith to lead our children to Jesus; enough money to buy the necessities; enough time to pray and play with our children. We have enough, but only in Christ. Otherwise, we lack everything. Mom. Dad. With Jesus, you have enough to raise your children well. You have enough for love to reign in your homes. You have enough to serve Jesus, wherever he calls.
Scrambling for “enough” leaves us exhausted, defeated and depressed. Living with faith leads to peace, satisfaction and joy. My mom was an optimistic, faith-filled woman, who found her cup not only full but overflowing. I don’t think she ever spent a day focusing on lack but approached life with grace and abundance. She had enough. She had Jesus. In Christ, we each have more than enough. This Sunday, as we come forward for communion, remember we are receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus, who is infinitely more than enough! Now, that’s good news!

When have you felt enough or not enough?

How has faith helped you be enough for your family?

Naming Grace in the Domestic Church reflects on Scripture through the lens of a parent/grandparent. To connect with Mary Pedersen: