“Enough is Enough”: Matthew 6:5–15 -- By: Wyndy Corbin Reuschling
ATJ 37 (2005) p. 1
“Enough is Enough”: Matthew 6:5–15
Wyndy Corbin Reuschling (Ph.D., Drew University), is Associate Professor of Ethics and Theology at ATS. This is a chapel address delivered to the Seminary community on Nov. 7, 2005.
In the next couple of weeks, most of us will likely be celebrating the national holiday called “Thanksgiving”. What always strikes me about Thanksgiving is the gratitude we express for abundance. We are to give thanks for abundance, as if abundance is perhaps normal and something we deserve, and something we actually ought to celebrate.
Abundance was always apparent at the Thanksgiving feasts celebrated in my extended family. Around 4:00 in the afternoon, family members were saying “enough is enough” probably about the relatives as well as the food. I should know that “enough was enough.” I was usually on clean-up duty on Thanksgiving. I’m not sure if this was a statement of my cooking skills (“oh, honey, don’t bother to bring anything”) or a sign of grace since I was the one who usually traveled to get where I needed to be on Thanksgiving.
Whatever the reason, each year, it was apparent there was never enough room in the refrigerator for the more than enough to fill tupperware and cool whip containers with leftovers which could easily provide 3 to 4 meals for the same 21 relatives.
I have a confession: I am ambivalent about Thanksgiving, even while I go on celebrating it with friends and family.
1. I am ambivalent about Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving is one of those mixed days in our national history. While many of us participate in the abundance of good food and renewal of family relationships, we are keenly aware (or ought to be) of those who cannot participate in abundance and who don’t even have enough for daily bread.
2. I am ambivalent about Thanksgiving: On Thanksgiving, we selectively recount the story of the pilgrims, their courage and valor, while at the same time selectively ignoring the cost their growing abundance and expansion meant for native peoples who were already living here even as some of us reap the benefits.
3. I am ambivalent about Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving is one of the days exposing the huge discrepancies in our world that can’t be addressed through charity, important as charity is for teaching us how to be generous. The
ATJ 37 (2005) p. 2
discrepancies are the result of injustice that relies on the poverty of certain people to maintain the wealth of the few as noted in global consumption patterns.
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