Sermon: How Much is Enough?

How much is enough conceptSermon Text: Luke 12:13-21

Sermon Excerpt

Robert and Edward Skidelsky are two academics who happen to be father and son. Together they wrote a book that shares a title with this sermon: How Much is Enough (2012). The subtitle of the book is equally important: Money and the Good Life.

So why do I bring this text to your attention?  Because the Skidelsky’s get it.  They are on to something that sounds a lot like the wisdom of Jesus in this morning’s parable.

In a consumer oriented world that always hungers for more, the Skidelsky’s offer a much needed corrective about the good life.  They envision a more balanced world in which there is less pressure to consume and also less income inequality.  And, they recognize that such a world is unlikely to be realized without religion.

The elder Skidelsky is widely recognized as an expert on John Maynard Keynes.  If you remember much about Keynes the economist, you are likely familiar with his vision of the future.  He pictured a world in which his grandchildren would work only 15 hours a week, yet

earn as much as those in his generation thanks to advances in technology alongside a more even distribution of income.  In this futuristic world, leisure would be primary.

 

Amazingly, Keynes’ forecast of the increased income and productivity were accurate, but the fifteen hour work week hasn’t been realized because several of his other assumptions were incorrect.  Now, in the second decade of the twenty-first century, income inequality is widening in part thanks to insatiable appetites for more.

After surveying history and mining the realities of the present, the Skidelskys construct a way forward that challenges many common capitalistic assumptions.  This new framework requires a different understanding of wealth, happiness, and economic progress.  It assumes that the basic goods are the good life rather than a means to achieve it.

We need to remember that the items that comprise the good life cannot be bought or sold.

In case my . . . (read manuscript or watch video)

So What?

The dominant view has long been bigger is better and more is also better.  A never ending quest for bigger and more drives many people to work constantly toward a goal that can never be reached.  The Way of Jesus suggests that our aspirations are about something very different.

  • How has a desire for “bigger and more” shaped parts of your life story?
  • As one who follows the Way of Jesus, how do you define “the good life?” and how are you doing in seeking to live such a life?

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  1. […] much is enough, it’s not a debate to participate. We all know how much is enough? We simply need some food to eat, something to wear, a house to live and of course we need money for […]

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