Have you seen the game show called “Deal or No Deal”? The game essentially tests the old adage, “A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush”, by offering significant amounts of sure prize money over the possibility of greater amounts but with equally greater risk of little or no money. As the game progresses the willingness of a contestant and their personal advisers to take risks (as well as greed) become more and more apparent. In one recent game a Pastor turned down over $150,000 for the opportunity to win $400,000 and ended up winning only $5!
I have been intrigued by the overall concept of the show because there are few other countries in where people would turn down vast sums of money simply for the opportunity to win more. This raises a very interesting question that I think is important for all of us to consider; how much is enough? Even setting aside money, how much of anything is “enough“? There are some areas that can be easily defined, such as food. We have a body that informs us when we have eaten the right amount at a particular meal (or too much in some cases). But even our body’s signals can be deceptive. I read recently about a man who gained over 300 lbs. in one year because he said, “I never felt full no matter how much I ate.” Most of us have more material things than 90 % of the earth’s inhabitants, yet if we were honest few of us would say, “I don’t need anything else.” Jesus told us not to worry about “our life, what we should eat or what we should wear…” Yet truth be told, that is what consumes most of our lives. We watch television programs about how to make our homes nicer than they are, read magazine articles about the lives of rich and famous people, and are told to spend money to pamper ourselves because “…you deserve it.”
How do we evade this trap? Jesus tells us later in the same passage in the book of Matthew. “Seek first the kingdom of God…” He doesn’t tell us to seek the Kingdom of God, but rather to seek it “First”. The only way I will be content with my lot in life is if my “lot”, isn’t my life. I can be satisfied if I seek after the right thing.
15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (ESV)