Enough: a faith connection

By Dori Zerbe Cornelsen

“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34, ESV).treasure-chest-619762_1920

Jesus talks about the intimacy our hearts have with our treasure before he gets to reminding us not to worry. He encourages us not to store up stuff that that breaks, rusts, wears out and can be stolen. In other words, any stuff stored up is what captures our hearts and becomes what we love. It can take us away from what God intended in the good creation as abundance for all. Rather it becomes scarcity for ourselves.

How do we go from our hearts getting caught up with stuff and move toward the relational possibilities of abundance for all? Maybe it’s possible to journey into such an adventure of discovering enough with our friends, life partners, small group at church or dorm floor.when-you-have-less-stuff-j-becker

I keep going back to an inspirational story about finding enough in the book, Basic Trek: Venture Into a World of Enough: The Original 28-day Journey, edited by Dave Schrock-Shenk, Mennonite Central Committee. In this book Deborah Fast shares a story (Day 16):

Preparing for a three-year term of service in Kenya, my husband and I spent hours carefully packing. “If in doubt, leave it out,” was our motto, as we proudly fit everything into three boxes, two backpacks and various carry-ons. Almost three years later in Kenya, we helped a young Maasai man prepare for a year in Canada as an exchange visitor. We explained Canadian customs, food and weather. We also met at the airport to send him off.

We found Julius near the check-in counter. “Where is your luggage?” I asked. “Here,” he said gesturing to the small bag he carried. “That’s it?!” I exclaimed. “It’s not even full!” “It’s enough,” he said. But Julius also brought two vans, rented for the occasion, packed full of Maasai friends and relatives coming to say good-bye. Dressed in brightly colored traditional garb, they surrounded him with concern and goodwill.

This deeply moving experience has stayed with me. A young Kenyan man, carrying fewer possessions than I would consider “enough” for a weekend trip, heading off for a year in a distant, unfamiliar country. What Julius did carry with him was far more significant – the love, support and sense of identity embodied in the bright red, yellow and blue-clad throng of chanting, singing, and waving fellow Maasai.

Jesus knew that we would discover enough not by ourselves but in the company of others. The good news to which Jesus invites us is to imagine together what new and joyful options there are for living in the reality of God’s abundance. And as Jesus promises, when we put our efforts there “all these things will be given to you as well.”

About the Author:
dori_zc-abundance-profile-picture
Dori Zerbe Cornelsen is a Gift Planning Consultant with Abundance Canada, encouraging and inviting generous living.  She and her husband Rick live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where lots of generous, warm people live in cold temperatures for 6 months of the year.

Finding Your Enough: A Personal Reflection

By Timothy Siburg

Two and a half months ago my wife Allison and I packed up all of our worldly belongings- our countless boxes of books, dressers full of clothes, and our entire winter wear wardrobe. With the help of our family, we loaded all of it, except for one car load’s worth, in a moving container, and then watched as it was driven out of sight in early mid-August.

Now we’re in Nebraska. We know where we will be living, but can’t quite move in yet. We are excited to dive deeply into our roles and callings. And even though we don’t have our own home right now, we have been graciously welcomed by the local Lutheran camp, and two great friends who have been hosting and housing us.

small-wooden-house-906912_1920This past month, as we have lived without our own space in Nebraska, has been an “in-between time of sorts.” Or, perhaps as one of my favorite pastors likes to say, a wilderness time. It’s been a beautiful time to reflect, live simply, and be in community with those hosting us.

The other day, Allison leaned over and asked, “do you miss our stuff?” I said, “sort of,” and then proceeded to ask her the same question. Allison said, “nope. It’s been great.” Perhaps one day we’ll be a “Tiny House” family yet? Though we’ll definitely have to downsize our library of books.

This experience has been one where we have had to make do with less. And you know what, strangely, we have. And it hasn’t been bad at all. It’s been a chance for me to think about what indeed is my enough.

What does your enough look like?postergen-chalkboard-generator-i-have-enough-and-i-am-enough

Besides a sense of having enough stuff, there is the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual sense of being enough. Allison likes to remind me of the work of author Brene Brown.

Among many of the great quotes Brene Brown has shared, she has said that, “We are living in scarcity. If we want change, choose gratitude and joy over scarcity.”

For me, this means deeply knowing and being reminded that I have enough and I am enough.

Feeling called, loved, and affirmed, and helping others feel the same, that’s enough for me. Being able to help others grow and be better at what they do, that fulfills me. And knowing that God is with me, and being open to whatever that relationship and call looks like, is more than enough and opens up doors to experiences like the one I am having now in this in-between time of life, with more than enough.

About the author
timothy headshot
Timothy Siburg is the Director for Stewardship of the Nebraska Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and is a member of the COMPASS Steering Committee. His wife Allison has been called to be an ELCA pastor, and the two of them reside in the greater Omaha area. Timothy can also be found on Twitter, Facebook, and on his blog.

Image credits: pixabay.com, postergen.com/chalkboard-generator

Finding Your Enough: Some Practical Suggestions

By Marcia Shetler

In his book Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity, Rev. Adam Hamilton observes that contentment and simplicity go hand in hand.“There comes a point when we have ehamster-wheelnough stuff,” he says, “and everything above and beyond that level only creates stress. When I think of the stress created by our relentless pursuit of stuff, I think of a hamster running on a wheel. The hamster gets on the wheel, not knowing where it is going. It starts running faster and faster until one of two things happens: either it flies off the wheel into the side of the cage, exhausted, or the hamster wheel breaks. That is the image that comes to mind when I look at current consumerism trends. We are like a hamster on a wheel. We really don’t know where we are going, but we are sure everybody else does; so we run faster and faster to keep up. Eventually, something is sure to break–the system or us or both.”

Here are five practical suggestions from Rev. Hamilton’s book to help you transition from the hamster wheel to taking positive steps that will make a difference as you find your enough.

#1:  Reduce your consumption by setting tangible goals.

  • Reduce your trash consumption by using canvas bags when you go grocery shopping and to refuse any extra packaging.
  • Grab only one or two napkins, as opposed to a handful, when you eat at a fast-food restaurant.
  • If you are buying a new car, aim to improve fuel economy over your existing car by at least 10 percent.
  • Reduce your utilities usage by 10 percent by setting the thermostat back a couple of degrees when you are away during the day and asleep at night.

#2:  Before making a purchase, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” and “Why do I want this?”

  • Use the twenty-four hour-rule. When you see something you think you must have, wait twenty-four hours before making the purchase. If you still feel you should buy the item after waiting a full day, go back and get it.

#3:  Use something up before buying something new.

  • Wait until a replacement is truly necessary.
  • Take good care of the things you buy and use them until they are empty, broken, or worn out.
  • Buy things that are made to last, and, when buying things that have a short lifespan, spend your money wisely.
  • Take better care of your furniture, appliances, and other things around the house. Resole your shoes. Mend rips and tears and make repairs.
  • Remind yourself that you don’t always need to have new things. If you feel something is really outdated, keep it for an extra six months or year before replacing it.
  • Sell or donate things that still work.

#4:  Plan low-cost entertainment that enriches.bench-1031398_1920-cropped

  • Plan entertainment that’s simple and cheap.
  • Remember that a memorable vacation can be simply relaxing and fellowship with family and friends.

#5:  Ask yourself, ”Are there major changes that would allow me to simplify my life?”

  • If your car is already paid off, consider keeping it for another year or two before buying another one and re-starting another debt obligation.
  • Consider downsizing your home.
  • Get rid of intangibles you rarely or never use, like club memberships.

Rev. Hamilton says, “Remember, if you cannot do all the things God is calling you to do and you’re unable to find joy in your life, perhaps it’s time to simplify in some major ways.” Good advice for life in general, and especially as you find your enough.

About the Author

marcia shetlerMarcia Shetler became the Executive Director/CEO of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center in March 2011. She holds an MA in philanthropy and development from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, a BS in business administration from Indiana Wesleyan University, and a Bible Certificate from Eastern Mennonite University. She formerly served as administrative staff in two middle judicatories of the Church of the Brethren, and as director of communications and public relations for Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Indiana, an administrative faculty position. Marcia’s vocational, spiritual, and family experiences have shaped her vision and passion for faithful stewardship ministry that recognizes and celebrates the diversity of Christ’s church and the common call to all disciples to the sacred practice of stewardship. She enjoys connecting, inspiring, and equipping Christian steward leaders to transform church communities.

This blog is a component of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s COMPASS initiative to engage young adults in conversations about faith and finances. Like what you see and want to know/do more? Visit the COMPASS web page, follow us on Twitter, and join the COMPASS community on Facebook.

Image credits: pixabay.com

Enough Already!

By Marcia Shetler
websters-dictionary-enough

Enough is an interesting word. Sometimes we use it to express a sense of satisfaction, and other times to declare our annoyance. In North America, though, when it comes to money, sometimes we find it hard to say “enough.” Our consumeristic culture entices us to always want more, and we get caught in financial traps that leave us with more obligations than resources to pay for them. How do we find our enough? That’s the question the COMPASS Initiative is exploring this month.

In his book Simple Money: A No-Nonsense Guide to Personal Finance, author Tim Maurer points out that our values greatly influence how we manage our money and how we find our enough. He says that values are simply:

  • “. . .the stuff in life that we want to be about.
  • That which we want to define us.
  • The guideposts that we want to live by.”

anchor-1023439_1920He goes on to say, “Values are critical as anchors for our goals and boundaries for the actions we take to achieve them. But most of all, they make the hardest decisions in life much easier by helping us prioritize what truly is the most important. Understanding what you value most will help simplify even the most complex financial decisions.”

Maurer introduces his readers to George Kinder, an expert in studying the intersection of money and life. in Kinder’s book The Seven Stages of Money Maturity, he invites imagining that you are financially secure—that you’ve reached your enough—and answering these questions:

  • How would you live your life?
  • What would you do with the money?
  • What would you change?

As followers of Jesus, our values are influenced by what we read in Scripture, what we learn bible-983105_1920from others in our faith community, and how we are led by God’s Spirit through our relationship with our Creator. This month, this blog and other COMPASS resources will provide you with many opportunities to consider how you can find your enough from a Christian perspective. Each week new articles here on the COMPASS blog will provide practical ideas, personal reflections, and spiritual insights. Follow our Twitter feed and join us on Facebook all month long for great curated content on the topic. And learn about resources on the COMPASS web page that you can use for further in-depth study.

Finally, join us in a Live Chat with Shane Claiborne on Wednesday, October 19, 8 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Central, 6 p.m. Mountain, 5 p.m. Pacific. Shane is a founder and board member of The Simple Way, a faith community in inner city Philadelphia that has helped birth and connect radical faith communities around the world. He writes and travels extensively speaking about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus. Shane’s books include Jesus for President; Common Prayer; Follow Me to Freedom; Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers; and his classic The Irresistible Revolution. He has been featured in a number of films including “Another World Is Possible” and “Ordinary Radicals.” Shane’s adventures have taken him from the streets of Calcutta where he worked with Mother Teresa to the wealthy suburbs of Chicago where he served at the influential mega-church Willow Creek, and to some of the most troubled regions of the world such as Rwanda, the West Bank, Afghanistan, and Iraq. You won’t want to miss this energizing and engaging Chat! Register today at stewardshipresources.org/compass-live-chats. People of all ages are welcome!

The COMPASS Steering Committee and I look forward to journeying with you this month as we meet each other on Facebook, Twitter, and at our Live Chat, to gain new insights into Finding Your Enough!

About the Author

marcia shetlerMarcia Shetler became the Executive Director/CEO of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center in March 2011. She holds an MA in philanthropy and development from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, a BS in business administration from Indiana Wesleyan University, and a Bible Certificate from Eastern Mennonite University. She formerly served as administrative staff in two middle judicatories of the Church of the Brethren, and as director of communications and public relations for Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Indiana, an administrative faculty position. Marcia’s vocational, spiritual, and family experiences have shaped her vision and passion for faithful stewardship ministry that recognizes and celebrates the diversity of Christ’s church and the common call to all disciples to the sacred practice of stewardship. She enjoys connecting, inspiring, and equipping Christian steward leaders to transform church communities.

This blog is a component of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s COMPASS initiative to engage young adults in conversations about faith and finances. Like what you see and want to know/do more? Visit the COMPASS web page, follow us on Twitter, and join the COMPASS community on Facebook.

Image credits: pixabay.com

A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart

During November the COMPASS Blog is sharing reflections about Thanksgiving and digging more deeply into why we give thanks. Today we welcome back regular contributor Nicole Brennan who ponders the question for herself in sharing some pictures of what and who she is thankful for and in writing that “A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart.”

Family Party. “I am thankful for the wonderful people in my family and for our crazy traditions. This is “Misfit Christmas” where anyone who doesn’t have a place to go on Christmas is always welcome.”

Family Party.
“I am thankful for the wonderful people in my family and for our crazy traditions. This is “Misfit Christmas” where anyone who doesn’t have a place to go on Christmas is always welcome.”

I had no idea that when Timothy posed the question, “Why do you give thanks?” it would be such a difficult question to answer. It feels like the answer is “Because… I do.” It feels natural and right to say “thank you.” I don’t think it’s just my Midwest upbringing or my Christian faith. I hope it’s instinctive in humanity to be grateful. As I reflect on it more, I guess it isn’t a “natural” trait to be grateful since it seems we have to learn it.

As a young child, I remember learning about being grateful. Like any good Christian kid of the 90s/2000s, I have watched nearly every VeggieTales episode repeatedly. One of my favorites is “Madame Blueberry.” I can sing you all the songs, including the “Love Songs with Mr. Lunt.” (For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, watch it now!) It perfectly encapsulates the reason we are not grateful (materialism), the reasons we should be (God’s goodness), and how to achieve it (being grateful)- by singing the “Thankfulness Song”:

I thank God for this day,
For the sun in the sky,
For my mom and my dad,
For my piece of apple pie!
For our home on the ground,
For His love that’s all around,
That’s why I say thanks every day!
Because a thankful heart is a happy heart
I’m glad for what I have,
That’s an easy way to start!
For the love that He shares,
‘Cause He listens to my prayers,
That’s why I say thanks every day!

As an adult, I’m still learning about gratitude. Last year at this time, I wrote about the importance of gratitude and four simple ways to practice it. I’m very blessed to have a job in a place that emphasizes stewardship and generosity. In the course of my work there, I have read several books about gratitude, generosity, materialism, and contentment.

Roommates at trivia. “I have been blessed with a great home, surrounded by caring roommates… who also love trivia as much as me! We just placed first!”

Roommates at trivia.
“I have been blessed with a great home, surrounded by caring roommates… who also love trivia as much as me! We just placed first!”

I recently read a book, “Enough,” that I want to draw your attention to. One particular chapter stuck with me- about how rich I am. I haven’t always considered myself “rich,” especially when I was living on donations during my year of service, but I always had enough. And by having “enough,” I was rich. The beauty of simplicity first got ahold of me then, and it’s a value I constantly strive for, but haven’t quite mastered. From all  I’ve read and witnessed—especially this time of year—many people realize they are rich, too. But we all just forget in the haze of more stuff. There is an overwhelming craving in our society (perhaps humanity) to “need more.” We need more clothes, toys, affection, attention, and approval. But we already have more than enough. We are inundated with stuff and rich with blessings.

Catherine and I eating sandwiches in Florence. “My beautiful (inside and out!) friends are a blessing for which I’m eternally grateful. Here is my friend, Catherine, who I have magnificent adventures with! We are eating the biggest, and most delicious paninis in Florence, Italy.”

Catherine and I eating sandwiches in Florence.
“My beautiful (inside and out!) friends are a blessing for which I’m eternally grateful. Here is my friend, Catherine, who I have magnificent adventures with! We are eating the biggest, and most delicious paninis in Florence, Italy.”

This brings me back to the reason why I give thanks- because I appreciate the numerous blessings of God. We are blessed beyond riches to be alive, to be able to think, and to have a functioning body. There are numerous immaterial reasons to be thankful: my family, my friends, the people I encounter, and the places I get to see. Regardless of my material wealth, I am always grateful that I have enough.

About the Author, Nicole Brennan: Hello there! I’m passionate about living a stewardly lifestyle, while being adventurous and frugal. I currently live in community with six other 20-somethings in downtown Chicago and work as a Marketing Assistant at Barnabas Foundation, a partner of ESC and COMPASS. In my off hours, you can find me volunteering at a nearby homeless shelter, enjoying live music with friends, or watching reruns of Parks and Rec. Email me at nicoletbrennan@gmail.com or tweet me at @BarnabasFdn.

This blog is a component of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s COMPASS initiative to engage young adults in conversations about faith and finances. Like what you see and want to know/do more? Visit the COMPASS web page and join the COMPASS community on Facebook.