How Much is Enough? Jeff Masters 7 Oct 2013 no comments When we ask the question, “How much is enough?” it seems almost un-American. We often want more than we have now. More money, upgraded technology, better furniture, better house, better car, more success and more security. It doesn’t matter how much we have invested, we want it to grow to become more. “More” is woven into our psyche, and is the very default of our nature. But what happens when we get more, or reach our goals and aspirations? We still are not satisfied, because there are always new and better attractions; the next goal and level of achievement. It is impossible to satisfy that “hunger for more,” because our consumerist culture has geared us to want more. In fact, one could say that greed is the official religion of the industrialized world. Multimillionaire John D. Rockefeller was once asked the question, “How much money is enough?” He transparently responded, “Just a little bit more.” In other words, “I will never have enough.” We may not realize that we have adopted this very mindset. Ask yourself how much is enough – how much do you need in order to be satisfied? Maybe we already have enough – possibly more than enough. Restraining our greed “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). Here, the Lord is telling us that there are multiple manifestations of greed. The word greed means “wanting more” or “eager for gain.” Greed always wants more and is never satisfied, and it is not limited to material things. Greed can be for more power/control, pleasure/leisure, fame/acknowledgement, etc. Greed is closely associated with envy and covetousness. Envy makes us discontent until we can get the same things others have. To covet is more sinister – it actually wants to take from another person what they have. David didn’t want a wife like Uriah’s wife Bathsheba (envy), he wanted Bathsheba herself (covetousness). Awareness of our fallen nature’s propensity towards greed and discontent is the first step towards putting off this old fleshly mindset. With persistent prayer and help from the Spirit we can put on a new mindset in this area altogether. Learn to be content While we learn to restrain our greed, we need to simultaneously learn to be content. The Bible gives us important areas where we need to be content: 1. Content in our possessions (Hebrews 13:5). 2. Content with our provisions (1Timothy 6:6). 3. Content with your wages (Luke 3:14). Why is it that, in the face of unprecedented prosperity, so many of us feel discontented? The American dream is mostly just that…a dream. This country was built on domination and exploitation; it is no wonder these are built into the fabric of our banks, corporations and government. We need to oppose this cultural influence; our goal should not be financial independence but financial freedom. The secret to contentment is not setting goals and getting what you want, but redefining what we think we need, and living to please God and to “feel his pleasure.” Circumstance does not determine our contentment – our faith and trust in God does. The most effective way to truly become financially free is to restrain greed and learn contentment. Have a finish line To restrain greed, it is important to set very clear finish lines and be accountable to them. Finish lines could be capping your lifestyle consumption or your net worth. Once you meet or exceed these finish lines then additional resources will be used for other purposes. There are great benefits to establishing measurable financial lines and being accountable to lifestyle and monetary boundaries. These lines will prevent us from increasing our lifestyles and consumptions for our own selfish pursuits. We can avoid the tendency to overwork to prepare or hoard for what may seem like an uncertain future. We will also be lead to have a plan for greater generosity with the additional resources that come in over and above our finish lines. Have a plan for your surplus Have a plan for your surplus. The temptation for us is that we may be anxious to use our surplus because there may be a chance that we will need it later. We can become very close-handed if we look too carefully or too far into the future and imagine all the needs we may have. When we are excessively cautious and worry how much we may be in need, we lose our dependence on the Lord’s plan and provision, as he knows our needs better. That depending on The Lord is what actually frees our minds from the anxieties of the world (financial freedom), and opens our hands to benevolence. Once we cross our personal finish lines, our drive and our giftedness to make more can now be focused on giving more to the Kingdom. “God prospers us not to raise our standard of living, but to raise our standard of giving” (Randy Alcorn). The ability to give and invest in others needs becomes quite rewarding. Remember, “True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth” (1 Timothy 6:6). Jeffery Masters, President of Jeffery W. Masters & Associates Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC Investment Advice offered through Independent Financial Partners, a Registered Investment Advisor. Independent Financial Partners and Jeffery W. Masters & Associates are not affiliated with LPL Financial. Jeff is a Locally Endorsed Investment Advisor by Dave Ramsey. 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