Enough Ice Cream

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Have you ever been to Nelson’s ice cream? I went to the St. Paul location a couple years ago. A friend of mine, Kory, and I went together. It was my first time, but not his. Kory and I both enjoy our ice cream and have been known to put away our fair share. So I was shocked when on our way in he asked, “Do you want to share a child’s size?”
What? First of all, I don’t want to share at all and much less the “child’s size.” I couldn’t believe he asked. That was until we walked inside and saw what Nelson’s calls the child’s size. If you don’t know, a child size at Nelson’s is like 10 heaping scoops of delicious, rich ice cream. I couldn’t believe it. I half expected Kory to look at me and ask, “Is that enough ice cream?” I finished mine and enjoyed every bite, but didn’t feel good about the decision later.
The word “enough” is a funny description. Enough seems to be predicated on our personal preference. What my wife and I think is enough ice cream is very very different. When I tell my 2 year old that he has banged his fork on the table enough times, he rarely agrees.
In the gospel this Sunday, Jesus is preaching to his disciples and assuring them that he will be going to prepare a place for them in his Father’s house. All they must do is follow his way. Thomas questions whether they know the way and Jesus emphatically tells them that Jesus himself is the way. Then Philip puts out a condition, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus admonishes him. Jesus says you already know the Father because you know him. Jesus and Father are one and the same.
The issue here, beyond Philip and the other disciples seemingly lack of understanding, is  that they are putting one more condition on Jesus. It’s akin to saying if you just do one more thing, then we will believe. Even in the context of the story, it seems rude. Jesus has preached with authority like no other man. Jesus has multiplied the loaves. Jesus has healed the lame and leper. Jesus has forgiven sins. By all accounts, Jesus has done enough. Yet, the disciples still ask.
One question this reading asks of us is, “has Jesus done enough for you and I to believe?” Are His miracles, preaching teaching, and promises enough for us to lay our lives down before Him forever? How about His resurrection? What would be enough?
Yet maybe this isn’t the right question. We aren’t asking about a business transaction – Jesus proves himself and we assent to His divinity. We are talking about love relationship. Jesus is inviting us into a deeply loving relationship that could last the rest of our existence. When it comes to love, the word “enough” doesn’t enter into the equation. We love by choice and by action. After all, Jesus loves us when we aren’t enough.
LIVE IT: Journal for 5 minutes even if it is just bullet points. Answer the following questions, 1) Has Jesus done enough to earn me? 2) Do I love Jesus?

Sunday Readings for May 10th 2020.

Enough.

Oct. 2nd Sunday Readings

I’ve run out of gas three times in my driving life. Honestly, it’s a little embarrassing. empty_gaugeWho runs out of gas multiple times? My first couple cars had “dummy” lights that turned on when I was getting close to empty, but my GMC pickup truck didn’t. Often I would try and push my truck’s range and three times, I went too far.

I don’t know if you’ve ever run out of gas, but fixing the situation can be complicated. Each time, I was too far away for my wife or a friend to come get me. Yes, I was that guy on the side of the highway who had to buy a $23, one gallon gas can in order to put enough gas in my truck to drive it back to the gas station and fill it up. I now have the most expensive collection of one gallon gas cans of anyone I know.

The gospel this week is about having “enough” faith. The disciples ask Jesus to increase their faith. They want more faith, which doesn’t seem like a bad thing. Jesus responds by saying that if they even had a speck of faith (as small as a mustard seed), they could do completely radical, miraculous things (tell a tree to move and be planted in the ocean). So this part of the gospel says that even a micro-speck of faith is enough to do miracles. Cool.

On the other hand Jesus tells the story of the servant who does what is expected and doesn’t receive any praise for it. Jesus seems to be saying that we shouldn’t be too proud of our faith lives because doing what is expected isn’t particularly exceptional.

So, how much faith is enough?

When I was out of gas on the side of interstate 94, one gallon was enough to get my car started (yay!), but it wasn’t enough to really go anywhere (sad face). When you go to the gas station do you just pump in one gallon or do you fill up your tank? We fill it up all the way, right?

Same needs to be true about our faith as well. We don’t just go to God to get one gallon of faith. Sure, that would be enough to move a mountain or command a tree to move or maybe make us feel good, but it isn’t more than the bare minimum. We aren’t filled up with just a gallon, our capacity to receive God’s love is greater.

How much faith is enough? A very little is a lot and we can never have enough.

God is infinite, and thus his capacity to love is infinite. God is always ready, willing, and able to love us more. The fact is, we are limited in how much we can receive. The good news is that we can increase our capacity. How? By going back to Jesus, again and again to be filled to over flowing with his love and mercy. Then, and only by God’s grace, can we continuously grow our ability to receive God’s love.

May you and I seek to be completely filled with God’s love and never settle for just enough.

LIVE IT:
Grow your capacity to receive God’s love this week. Whatever you “normally” do for prayer in a day, add 2 minutes of silence. If you don’t normally pray, start with 2 minutes of silence. If you have a robust prayer practice, add two minutes of silence at the end.