Excess – n. 1. An amount or quantity beyond what is required; surplus. 2. Intemperance; overindulgence - adj. 1. Being more than what is required.
Last week I ordered a medium Diet Coke at Wendy’s and was shocked at the size of drink I received. What used to be the biggie size is now medium. This set off a mix of emotions and contemplations.
Having been out of the country a lot lately, my biggest culture shock in coming home is the American excess. Large portions of food which lead to large waist lines. Large homes, large vehicles. I feel sickened by the excess and unsatisfied appetite for it that I see in myself and all around me. Where does this American obsession for excess come from?? We have well beyond what is required.
I think of the people in Costa Rica, about the kids we fed that week. They live in shacks thrown together with scrap boards and sheets of metal. For most of them, the food Ronald brings on Wednesdays is the only real meal they get a week. Otherwise they’re scrounging through trash for food. And the woman who does the cooking for them lives in a scrapped together home herself. She gets up at 4 AM to prepare the food and opens her home to the teams that come to serve. I think of the widow’s offering in Mark 12:41-44.
“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."”
I am wrestling with this. How can I not live selfishly? How can I give out of all I have? What does that mean? Several years ago I read a commentary that compared SUVs to our lives. Most people buy an SUV to tool around town, to look cool, to keep up with the trend. But they never use it for what it was designed for – off roading, heavy hauling. Many people live their lives that way. They may look cool but never live their lives to the full potential, what they were created to be. I so don’t want that to be me. How do I live my life to be all that God created and called me to be no matter what the circumstance?