In the movie Out of Africa the lead character, Baroness Blixen, returns to Africa from a visit to Denmark. Her Muslim servant, Farah, meets her at the train station. Upon seeing her, he asks, "Are you well, Msabu?" She replies, "I am well, Farah." She then asks him, "And you, Farah, are you well?" Farah replies, "I am well enough, Msabu."Wouldn't it be healthy to be able to answer the question, "How big is your house?" with, "It is big enough"? Or your TV, "The screen is large enough." Or your church's membership, "Our church is big enough!"Contentment is indeed a biblical goal, but not everyone sees it in terms of having enough. Certainly the commercial world doesn't. "Now 15 percent larger," screams the streamer at the top of the cereal box. Have you ever seen a product advertised as being "good enough" or "large enough"?
‘Well Enough’ What your retirement planner doe n’t tell you Save in order to give your life away, not to retire comfortably By Lynn Miller I n the movie Out of Africa the lead character, Baroness Blixen, returns to Africa from a visit to Denmark. Her Muslim servant, Farah, meets her at the train station. Upon seeing her, he asks, “Are you well, Msabu?” She replies, “I am well, Farah.” She then asks him, “And you, Farah, are you well?” Farah replies, “I am well enough, Msabu.” I am well enough. What an amazing statement of There is no end to what you contentment. And in our time, how rare. can do when you decide Periodically, business magazines run “comparative salary surveys” describing what people in various jobs that your life is a first-fruit are paid on average. The implied question for readers is, offering of God for a world “Are you paid well?” What a great response it would be to say, “I am paid well enough.” that needs to know him. Wouldn’t it be healthy to be able to answer the ques- tion, “How big is your house?” with, “It is big enough”? Or your TV, “The screen is large enough.” Or your church’s membership, “Our church is big enough!” Contentment in life is a biblical goal. The apostle Paul said he had “learned to be content whatever the circum- stances” (Philippians 4:11, NIV). And the Letter to the Hebrews encouraged its readers to keep their “lives free from the love of money and be content with what you Canadian Mennonite May 25, 2009 5 have” (Hebrews 13:5). comfortably in a retirement community about when I think of retirement. Contentment is indeed a biblical goal, in a warm climate. In 1985, a doctor friend of mine, who but not everyone sees it in terms of hav- This kind of thinking suggests that was then 55 years old, told me that in ing enough. Certainly the commercial comfort has become a synonym for con- five years he was going to do something world doesn’t. “Now 15 percent larger,” tentment and a benchmark in financial- different with his life. Actually, it took screams the streamer at the top of the planning calculations. Comfort seems him six, but in 1991 he and his wife went cereal box. Have you ever seen a product to be measured by the ability to eat out to Calcutta to serve as a mission agency’s advertised as being “good enough” or once or twice a day, hire someone else to country representatives. They planned to “large enough”? do housecleaning, and fill the hours that stay three years, but didn’t come home No business sector is more affected by used to be taken up by productive work for six years. And they didn’t come home the drive to “get more” than the financial- with recreation. Eating out and playing permanently. Now there is an offering of planning industry. Just read the adver- golf are not wrong—or even unproduc- a life that has multiplied in its ability to tisements for mutual funds: “Higher tive (I enjoy both myself). But in my late give
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