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ENOUGH!

Date: 
November 26, 2017
Speaker: 
Rev. Terry Martinson
Reading: 
Mark 6:30-44

THEME: This sermon weaves together 3 stories that raise the question, “How much is enough?”

INTRODUCTION

  • How much is enough?
  • Do you have enough?
  • What could you use just a little bit more of?
  • The sermon this morning is 3 short stories that raise the question: How much is enough?

 

THE FIRST STORY (based on a poem titled: I Wish You Enough – author unknown)

         At an airport I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her plane’s departure and standing near the door, the father said to his daughter, “I love you. I wish you enough.”

         She said, “Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy.” They kissed good-bye and she left.

         He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing that it would be forever?”  “Yes, I have,” I replied.

         Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me. So I knew what this man was experiencing.

         “Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye? I asked.

         “I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, her next trip back will be for my funeral,” he said.

         “When you were saying good-bye I heard you say, ‘I wish you enough.’ May I ask what that means?

         He began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.” He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail. He smiled even more.

         “When we said, ‘I wish you enough,’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with enough good things to sustain them,” he continued and then turning to me he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory:

                  I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

                  I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

                  I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

                  I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

                  I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

                  I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

                  I wish you enough “Hellos” to get you through the final “Good-bye.”

         He then began to sob and walked away.

THE SECOND STORY from Mark 6:30-44    Feeding the Five Thousand

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.’ But he answered them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said to him, ‘Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?’ And he said to them, ‘How many loaves have you? Go and see.’ When they had found out, they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’ Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.

THE THIRD STORY  - GLORIFY – Reclaiming The Heart of Progressive Christianity by Emily C. Heath – Pilgrim Press – Cleveland – 2016 (This story is culled from chapter 7)

         When I was a college and seminary student in Atlanta there were two churches, both from the same mainline denomination, located on opposite ends of town. One church was very small. It only had about 40 active members, and it was located in a neighborhood that for years had been considered down and out. For the life of them, no one could tell how that church managed to stay open year after year.

         The other congregation was a very large church. In fact, it was the largest church in the entire denomination nationally. Each Sunday, in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Atlanta, thousands of people streamed through its doors to worship.

         Both churches did amazing things in their ministries. They both touched many lives. But that little church, the one with forty members, did something nearly unbelievable. Every night they invited homeless men in from the streets, and they let them sleep on cots in their sanctuary. They fed them hot meals, helped them secure housing and healthcare, and walked with them on their journeys.

         The pastor of the larger church occasionally used to invite the pastor of the smaller one to speak in worship. The big church pastor was a good Christian who inspired his congregation to do great things, but he always struggled with the fact that his church never seemed to think they had “enough” to do more. Despite thousands of members and millions of dollars, there was always this sense of scarcity, and not abundance.

         So when the small church pastor would come to tell the congregation about his ministry, the big church pastor would then slip in a mind-blowing fact, hoping his congregation might hear it. “You know,” he would say, “this little church manages to do all this ministry every year on a church budget that is less than our own church’s electric bill.”

 

CONCLUSION

  • I’ll end with the question I started with: How much is enough?

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