Thursday, January 27, 2011

How Much Is Enough?

Kay and I aren't much for reality shows, but recently we've been watching one in which the CEO or other high-ranking officer of a company goes undercover to learn the inner workings of their organization. It's predictable--always a scene where the boss makes a fool of himself (or herself), one where the worker tells a heart-breaking story that brings the audience to tears, and one where the boss learns a valuable lesson that he'll translate into action when he returns to the home office. But we watch it mainly because it's interesting to see the persona of these people.

One we watched recently featured a CEO who lived in a huge mansion, had a closet full of clothes bigger than the room I lived in in college, flew in a private jet, and was "considering buying a private country club," the inference being so he could play golf more easily. He went undercover and was reduced to tears to many times I wished I'd had the Kleenex concession. Every time I heard a story about how one of the people he was working with was struggling to make ends meet, all I could think of was "And you're buying a country club!"

This brings up the question: How much is enough? At what point do we use what we've accumulated to bless others? I've tried to write my answer to that half a dozen times, and each time I've quit because it sounded simplistic or saccharine or holier-than-thou. So I guess you'll have to answer it for yourself...just as I am doing.

5 comments:

Lisa Jordan said...

This is great food for thought. I'm not even sure I know the answer.

As someone who never grew up with money, or had lots of it as an adult, I've learned to be content with what I have. I've made wiser buying choices in order to make my budget stretch for those essentials like food, shelter, and of course, books. :) Okay, kidding on the last one...a little.

Anne Mateer said...

Lol! As we watched that same show the phrase "And you're buying a country club" was actually said out loud in my house several times. We have loved that show but that episode was a great one for talking with our teenagers about how much is enough and what it really means to take care of your employees over indulging yourself!

With that said, I struggle sometimes with "how much is enough." For although I live a very pared down life compared to most I know, I also know I have much more than many people.

Catherine West said...

Yeah, I just wrote a long answer to this and came to the same conclusion. And I am not the holier-than-thou type of person. How much is enough depends on what you want to do with it I guess. This is a hard topic, as one who has been very blessed, and judged because of it, I tend to keep my mouth shut. God knows the choices we make with our finances. I've learned to be content with that knowledge.

Carol J. Garvin said...

I'm not much for watching reality shows because the few I've seen had a very artificial kind of reality, and I found them boring. But there are certainly lots of them.

I don't think there can be one all-encompassing answer to your question because we don't all have the same perceived needs or the same means of meeting them. I don't think scripture condemns wealth, only the coveting/hoarding of it. We're also told to love our neighbours as ourselves -- those who 'have' will be able to be more generous than others in helping those who 'have not'. Like Catherine, I think we need to seek God's guidance in determining both what we really need and what we can do for others. We answer to him for all we have and all we do.

Lots to think about here, Richard!

Anne Mateer said...

Lol! As we watched that same show the phrase "And you're buying a country club" was actually said out loud in my house several times. We have loved that show but that episode was a great one for talking with our teenagers about how much is enough and what it really means to take care of your employees over indulging yourself!

With that said, I struggle sometimes with "how much is enough." For although I live a very pared down life compared to most I know, I also know I have much more than many people.