The begging bowl has been used in eastern cultures since Buddha himself. Though it has lost its much of its significance, I believe it is still in use in some monasteries even today. Today’s use is for monks in training to learn to depend on the begging bowl for their daily needs. As they leave the monastery in the morning, they carry their begging bowl.
This bowl serves two purposes. First, whatever they receive in their bowl is their sustenance for the day; secondly, it gets them out among the people. They socialize and learn to not only make their own needs known but also to learn of others’ needs and to help in whatever manner their limited resources allow.
At the end of each day, whatever they bring back in their bowl is “just enough”. That’s important to note, because while they may have garnered a few coins, it is just as likely they will have received only a piece of two of fruit or vegetable. No matter! It is “just enough”.
I often recall this story and pause to think through what my “just enough” has been for the day. Where did it come from? Did I earn it? Or was it a gift? Considering this is humbling and makes me more generous so others, too, might have “just enough”.
I thought of it again today as I was putting new sheets on my bed.
Several years ago, when I bought a new bedroom suite, I got a queen sized bed. When I made the change, I didn’t think about the need for queen size bed linens as well, but I made a trip to the store and purchased one set of queen size sheets. That worked well until the top sheet became a point of extreme interest and fun for a couple of golden retriever puppies. The end result? They tore the top hem off the top sheet. Rather than put in a new hem, I went back to the store.
That’s been about four years. Recently I saw a queen size sheet set on a yard sale. No more getting by on just one set for me! No sir! I would now have a change if I so desired.
So, the other day while my usual sheets were in the washer, I decided to switch over to the newly acquired ones. When I put the top sheet on, I found it was a king size! Too big, but I can make do. So I completed making the bed.
When the usual sheets came out of the drier, I had to fold them for the first time ever! The fitted one is truly challenging and the top sheet is not far behind simply due to size. (I can’t wait until I have to fold that king size one!)
While I was struggling to get those sheets folded well enough to put in the linen closet and getting more frustrated all the time, I began to think maybe one set of sheets is “just enough”. While “just enough” is ample in most ways, when it comes to faith, it’s quite a different story. I don’t think there’s any such thing as enough faith. But as we put our faith to work, God also goes to work. He builds our faith, our lives, our testimony. Then He makes our lives shine for Him.
We (or at least, I) have a tendency to think what little I can do is not enough to count. I know some of you feel the same way. But, God…
There’s an old saying, “Little is much when God is in it.” It’s really true. He takes my flawed and feeble testimony and makes it useable in His kingdom. He does the same with yours. Then He blends those fragments to make the masterpiece He planned.
Is your life “just enough” to win someone to Christ? It can be when God completes His work in and through you.