Thursday, September 23, 2010

1 Timothy 6:6-19

Pentecost +18 - Year C

1 Timothy 6:6-19

Enough can be enough when it comes to food and shelter and money. More than enough, though, gets in the way of other qualities where enough is never enough.

Has there been enough kindness shown yet? How about enough peace experienced or justice enacted? Will there ever be enough consideration given to the poor? What is the limit of an expansive and expanding love?

When we begin trading in commodities it turns out that enough is never enough. We are measured by an ever expanding base of quantity and coming up short of the elusive enough. This understanding leaks over into the qualities of life of which there really never is enough and we will cut any of their corners in order to receive more of the marketable goodies we desire.

Since those arenas in which enough will never be enough to deal with the latest reality are so important and so vulnerable to subversion, it is important to address the issue of how to deal with matters where enough can really be enough. Here the quality of the day is not a sense of authority to order arbitrary limits on enough or to find a refuge of off-shore tax exempt storage of commodities to add to enough. What is needed is a sense of contentment able to see through the masquerade of adequate diets and housing and income playing the pity game and needing just one little bite more, an extra room, or 10% more income.

Researchers tell us that it is not an absolute amount of money that brings "happiness", but where your money ranks in comparison with others. Simply having more than so-and-so brings the happiness of status, fleeting as it is. This however is not the kind of contentment that needs consideration. Here we have a reference to the Buddhist understanding of non-attachment - being content apart from the standard measuring tools. Contentment is a spiritual gift much needed in today's world of warring words setting family member against family member.

Better than, "Don't worry, be happy" is "In all things, contentment".

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