But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.” Jacob said, “No, please; if I find favor with you, then accept my present from my hand; for truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God — since you have received me with such favor. Please accept my gift that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have everything I want.” So he urged him, and he took it.”

Genesis 33:9-11

Foreign currency donations in a spherical bowlI expect you saw the headlines when Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, recently promised to donate 99% of his Facebook shares to charity over the course of his life. For this pledge, Zuckerberg received plenty of praise as well as some skeptical comments. I was impressed by what seemed to me to be a laudable commitment by Zuckerberg and his wife to use their wealth for benevolent purposes.

I will confess, however, that I quickly calculated what this sacrifice might mean for Zuckerberg and his family. Currently, their stock is valued at $45 billion. If it were to remain at that level, and if they gave away 99%, that would leave the Zuckerbergs with $450 million upon which to live. I expect that would be adequate for a decent lifestyle. Seriously, though, I wondered how they decided what would be enough.

Today’s text from Genesis raises a similar question for me. In Genesis 33, the formerly estranged brothers, Jacob and Esau, reconciled in a heartwarming scene of forgiveness and renewal. Esau asked Jacob about all of the livestock Jacob had sent to him. Jacob explained that he had sent this gift “To find favor with my lord” (33:8). But Esau responded, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself” (33:9). Jacob protested, “No, please; if I find favor with you, then accept my present from my hand; . . . because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have everything I want” (33:10-11). Finally, Esau received Jacob’s gift.

Esau said, “I have enough.” Jacob said, “I have everything I want.” Neither brother sensed a need for more. I wonder: Could I say these things? Do I have enough? Do I have everything I want? What would be enough? How much is “enough”? What defines “enough” in my world? Who defines “enough”? How much of my life will be spent striving for what is more than enough? What will be the cost of this striving in terms of the things I value most in life? If I discover that I have enough, what changes might I make in my life?

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

Let me encourage you to prayerfully consider the questions in the preceding paragraph. See if the Lord has anything to say to you about “enough” in your life.

PRAYER:

Gracious God, thank you for the examples of Esau and Jacob in this passage. They had enough and they were willing to acknowledge it.

As you know, Lord, we live in a culture that encourages us not to be satisfied with what we have. Enough is rarely enough. Help us, Lord, to think about our possessions differently. Give us wisdom to know when enough is enough. Teach us to be satisfied with, and, yes, grateful for what we have. Amen.

 

Image Credit: “Foreign currency donation bucket filled with Canadian Tire money, security queue, Pearson Terminal 3, Toronto, ON, Canada” by Cory Doctorow via CC BY-SA 2.0.