How Much Is Enough?December 28, 2015
by Ryan Kurtz
This is a question that is asked over and over to financial advisors by their clients. “How much money is enough”? Most of us want to know what we need to do to plan to “have enough” for our lifetimes, but how much money is enough?
Amounts are very important to us; from “How much will my annual income be?” to “How much money I will owe in taxes this year?” amounts of money for different things in our lives are important. So, what is the amount of money that is enough for us?
When John D. Rockefeller, who at the time was one of the richest men in the world, was asked how much enough is, his response was, “Just a little bit more”. He must have been a very greedy wealthy man, right? When you have as much as he did, why would you need more?
In Luke 19, we are told a story of a rich tax collector named Zacchaeus. In the story, Jesus told Zacchaeus that he was going to his house that day. After welcoming Jesus happily to come to his home, Zacchaeus stopped and talked to Jesus about amounts of money. That is a very interesting response to Jesus telling him He is going to his house. Zacchaeus then goes on to tell Jesus that he will give ½ of all he has to the poor and give back to anyone he has cheated 4 times what he cheated them. After telling Jesus these amounts, Jesus said to Zacchaeus, “Salvation has come to your house today”. One chapter before, in Luke 18, Jesus comes across another rich man who asked Jesus “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” After a little discussion Jesus answers with an amount, “Sell ALL you possess and give it to the poor”.
So here is my question.
If Zacchaeus gives half of all he has to the poor and salvation comes to his house and one chapter before Jesus tells a rich man you need to give all you have to the poor to have eternal life, what’s the deal? Why are the amounts different? How much IS enough? How much did Zacchaeus have left after he gave to the poor and paid back those he cheated anyway? Ten dollars? Ten million dollars? We’re not told the amount but it’s more than the rich man who gives everything he has away and has nothing. So, why are the amounts different? How much is enough?
In Genesis, God commanded man to “Be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth”. Does that mean its ok for my wealth to grow? I mean it does say to be fruitful. He says the same thing again to Noah in Genesis 9, to “be fruitful and multiply”. In Jeremiah 29, God tells his people “not to decrease”.
So when John D. Rockefeller says that enough is “Just a little bit more”, that sounds a little bit more like a word from God who commands us to be fruitful then a word from a greedy rich man, doesn’t it?
I believe God’s heart for all believers in Him is to increase in every way possible. Not to increase just for the benefit of increasing, but to increase for the benefit of being a blessing to others.
I believe God is looking for faithful people who will manage everything God gives them not just to see how much money we can accumulate in our lives, but to use it to be a blessing to others and accomplish all God has for the money and resources He has entrusted to each of us….No matter how much that is.
It’s amazing to me that even when standing before the Lord He will take into account all I have and what I have done with it.
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Matthew 25:34-36
So how much money is enough? Should I give half of what I have away like Zacchaeus? Should I give all I have away like the rich man was told to do?
Here’s my definition.
Enough is when we have an amount of money or possessions that takes our trust off of God and places our trust in our amount of money or possessions, when that dollar amount is crossed, that is when we have enough. For the rich man in Luke 18, he wasn’t able to handle one penny before that line was crossed, for Zacchaeus it seems his line was crossed at around half of all he had. What amount is that for you?
I believe God’s heart for us is to be able to continue to increase in every way, including in our bank accounts, relationships, in our businesses and never cross the line to taking our trust off of Him. That has been God’s heart for His people since Genesis 1, continued increase in every area of our lives while always acknowledging with our lives and actions, the One who brings the increase. I believe then, we can all live the most fulfilling lives possible and most fully advance the Kingdom of God during our time on earth.
So, how much is enough? I hope for you, if you can handle it, “Just a little bit more.”