How much is enough?

Every so often, you may say to yourself, ‘I don’t think I have enough to get by. I’m not sure God understands my needs.’ How do you deal with that murmur of doubt when it enters your mind?

John Wesley’s father was an Anglican minister with nine children, who ended up in debtors’ prison. When John started earning his own salary and became financially self-sufficient, he felt great freedom. One day, a chambermaid came to his door. He had just bought some pictures and showed them to her. He noticed that she was so poor, that she couldn’t protect herself from the icy temperature outside. When he reached into his pocket to get some money to buy her a coat, he realised he didn’t have enough. He immediately felt the conviction that he wasted his money buying those pictures. He thought, “Will thy Master say, ‘Well done, good and faithful steward? Thou hast adorned thy walls with the money that might have screened this poor creature from the cold!’”

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.

It was a defining moment in Wesley’s life. He recorded his income at the time. It was £30. His expenditure was £28, so he gave away £2. He kept his expenditure the same for the rest of his life. Even when his income grew six time higher, he spent the same he always had and he gave the rest away.

Was there anything wrong with Wesley buying those pictures? No, but the Lord used them to convict Wesley about investing in what really mattered. We need wisdom in knowing the difference between a need and a luxury; to know when and how much to spend on the non-essentials.

The Apostle Paul found an incredible peace about his material situation. He said, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:12-13). That peace came from a contentment in God and a deep trust that He gives us what we need. May we also have that peace.