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Enough is Enough

My father in-law told me this parable about this man who was on vacation up the California coast. A businessman from the city, he traveled north to one of the quiet coastal towns where the water sprays high when it collides with the rocks.

One morning, he walked out from the little bungalow he was renting to watch this man unearth from the hatch of his truck bed. He was carrying a fishing pole and a bucket. His dog wagged by his side. Nimbly, he climbed down the rocks and carefully tied a lure to his line. Then, no less than five seconds after he cast – wham! His line went taught, and he reeled in one of the nicest red snapper’s the business man had ever seen.

The man unhooked the fish and placed it in the bucket, checked the security of the lure, then cast once again. Wham! Another red snapper. He placed it in the bucket. Once more he sent the line flying. Wham!

The businessman could hardly believe it. He had never seen such talent.

The fisherman reeled in his line, secured the hook, and carried his bucket of red snappers back up the rocks to his truck. His dog jumped in, and the man fished his key from his pocket.

“Wait!” yelled the businessman.

The fisherman looked up startled to see he’d been watched.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m taking these fish down the way to the Old Man By The Sea (a local restaurant). They give me five bucks a pound.”

Not bad. Thought the businessman, doing a quick calculation in his head. This guy just made sixty bucks in less than five minutes.  

“You know,” said the businessman, taking a moment to choose his words. He had learned through his years of mind-numbing labor never to let a business opportunity pass by. “If you fished all day, you’d make a whole lot more money.”

“Why would I want more money?” asked the fisherman.

The businessman laughed at the absurdity of the question. “Listen. The more fish you catch, the more money you will make. The more money you make, the richer you become. With that money, you could buy more fishing rods. You could hire folks to fish for you. You could make enough money to buy a boat. Heck! You could eventually buy a fleet of boats. Then, you could move to a city and manage your fleet and make enough money to buy a place up here so that when you retire you can wake up whenever you like and fish for however long you want.”

The fisherman smiled, put his fishing pole in the truck and shut the hatch. “That’s what I did this morning,” he said, leaving the businessman dumbfounded.

I love that parable.

I read this quote recently: “Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.” Epicurus wrote that a long time ago.

Guess that longing for more stuff has always been there.

Have you ever wondered why?

Why all the longing?

Well, I’ve got a theory. It’s this. We long for what we are meant to have. That’s right. We are meant to have more stuff than we could ever even handle. In fact, the way God puts it – we were meant to have treasure. Treasure. Think about it. All those gold doubloons you see in pirate movies. We were meant to have that. Ok maybe not a chest of gold. But I believe something better.

Stuff like love, joy, and peace – heaped beyond measure.

We were meant to have Jesus, the maker of everything. That guy. He wants to live in our hearts.

As Paul writes in his letter to Philippi: “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”

Or to the Ephesians: “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.”

Or: “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.”

May his enough be your enough this season. Amen!

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Ned Erickson

Ned is the Founder and Executive Director of the Winston-Salem Fellows, a non-profit dedicated to equipping people to live seamless lives as they grow into the men and women they were created to be. He is the author of four books, including the critically acclaimed novel Clay. He, his wife, two children, dogs, rabbit, guinea pig, turtle, and chickens live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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