Should the Church Be More Vocal about the Conflict between Israel and Palestine?
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Should the Church Be More Vocal about the Conflict between Israel and Palestine?

Do You Have Enough to Share?

My kids and I spend a lot of time talking about pie. “Life isn’t a pie,” I tell them. In reality, I’m trying to convince myself. We all stare at the figurative dessert, hurrying to eat our slice so we can claim more before it runs out. And all the while, we’re certain that someone else’s piece is bigger.

Lynne Twist calls this the “scarcity mindset,” and also, “the great lie.” She writes, “For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is ‘I didn’t get enough sleep.’ The next one is ‘I don’t have enough time.’ . . . We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of.”[1]

We live in a “never enough” culture, and I’m not immune to its claims. I’m certain there will never be enough pie. Which is why I was so struck by Jacob’s words to Esau in the passage we read at church last week:

“Please accept my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.

Gen. 33:11, emphasis added

Jacob has enough? The guy who swindled his brother out of his birthright? Who deceived his father to claim a blessing that didn’t belong to him? Who fled and spent years accumulating wealth at the expense of his father-in-law? That Jacob has enough? How could someone so greedy become so content?

Transformed by God

Jacob has had some tumultuous years since fleeing the wrath of his brother, Esau (see Gen. 28–31). Now he’s departed from his father-in-law with a great company: “oxen, donkeys, flocks, male servants, and female servants” (Gen. 32:5), along with his two wives and many children. But despite his prosperity, he’s filled with dread, because the last time he saw his brother, Esau swore he would kill Jacob. Certain he’s heading for his doom, Jacob does what we’d expect: He arranges his great company to go before him, while he lingers in the back. He sends along his servants, hoping that if Esau comes in arms, he’ll have time to flee.

But then Jacob encounters God. He wrestles with him until daybreak, clinging tightly with all his might, crying out, “I will not let you go until you bless me” (Gen. 32:26). In this encounter, Jacob finally recognizes that his only hope for blessing comes not from the hoards that surround him, and not from his own deception or striving or deserving, but from the gracious God who is the source of the only blessing that matters.

Jacob is transformed by this encounter with God. He takes the lead of his caravan, ready to meet his fate. Pastor Adriel points out that Jacob is now being driven by the promise of God rather than the fear of man. His actions towards Esau demonstrate a heart that’s been moved to repentance. But there’s more—God had blessed Jacob so that he would be a blessing to the nations:

When [Jacob blessed Esau], it wasn’t just a sign of his repentance. It was the beginning of the fulfillment of what God called Israel to be. Here is Esau, the father of the Edomites, a representative of the nations being blessed by Israel.

Back in Genesis chapter 28, when God spoke to Jacob, he said to him, “In you and in your offspring shall the families of the earth be blessed.” Jacob is fulfilling his purpose here to be a blessing to the nations according to the word of God. . . . He says to Esau, “Accept this blessing because God has been so gracious to me.”[2]

As a now-transformed Jacob offered Esau gifts from his abundance of wealth, he pointed to an even greater spiritual reality—because of God’s abundant grace, in ways both seen and unseen, he had enough. And as he embraced that truth, he realized one more: There was plenty to share.

Plenty to Share

One of my favorite children’s books is called Boxes for Katje. It’s the story of a young girl whose community was left in poverty in post-WWII Holland. When her American pen-pal, Rosie, realizes Katje’s lack, she rallies her community and, little by little, sends tangible gifts to help ease Katje’s troubles. But the story’s beauty is not in Rosie’s generosity, but in Katje’s. The first gift from America includes a bar of soap, a pair of socks, and a chocolate bar—rare delicacies in her community’s squalor. Holding the chocolate bar, “[Katje’s] mouth watered as she remembered its creamy, rich sweetness. She could hardly wait to take a bite. . . . Quick, before she could change her mind, she broke the bar into pieces and passed them around.” With each subsequent gift, this child, who could have easily consumed every precious delivery within her own family, looks to those around her and declares, “There is plenty to share!” [3]

God clearly blessed Jacob in tangible ways. He really did have more wealth, livestock, wives, and children than any one man could possibly consume. It would be easy to assume this is why he could say he had enough. And it’s true that this ought to be the perspective of the rich:

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

1 Tim. 6:17–19, emphasis added

But the picture we have of generosity throughout Scripture often looks much more like Katje. It’s not about possessions or wealth, but about faith and perspective. The apostle Paul faced “plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Phil. 3:12), but because of the abundant grace he received in Christ, he had learned “in whatever situation [he was] to be content” (Phil. 3:11). Though he lived his life as an offering, poured out on behalf of others (Phil. 2:17), he trusted with all his heart what the Scriptures promised: “One who waters will himself be watered” (Prov. 11:25).

Do You Have Enough?

In our not-enough culture, we default to pre-wrestling Jacob, hoarding and collecting and manipulating to ensure we get our due. We’re watching the pie, guarding the remaining slices. But, transformed by the same grace Jacob received, we’re called to believe that it’s in clinging to God that we’ll find blessing. In Christ we’re transformed to find contentment—to be people who stop thinking in terms of “not enough.” As those who have received in abundance, who have been promised that God will supply for our every need in Christ (Phil. 4:19), we become generous people with our money, possessions, time, gifts, words, compassion, and presence.

Because God has dealt graciously with us, we become people who can say not only that we have enough, but who look to those around us and declare, “There is plenty to share!”

[1] Lynne Twist, The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life (United States: W. W. Norton, 2017).

[2] Pastor Adriel Sanchez, sermon at North Park PCA 1/23/22.

[3] Candace Fleming, Boxes for Katje (Melanie Kroupa Books: New York, 2003).

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Kendra Dahl

Kendra Dahl is the Director of Content for Core Christianity and White Horse Inn, a writer, wife, and mom of three. Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, she currently lives in the San Diego area, where she loves life among the beach and mountains and doesn't miss the snow even a little bit. She has an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Westminster Seminary California and writes to invite people into the healing and freedom found in knowing Christ. You can find her on Instagram.