When “not enough” is plenty


Have you ever felt like you have nothing to offer, that what you have is just not enough?

I relate to this all too well.  As I stood in church one day, singing “Take my life and let it be” (the Chris Tomlin version posted below) and we reached the chorus, “Here I am, all of me.  Take my life, it’s all for Thee,” I was overcome with feelings of inadequacy.  Who was I to think I could give anything to God?  What use was my life to him anyway?  I wanted to give everything to God but I felt that I didn’t have much to offer.  It just wasn’t enough.  I wasn’t enough.

But fortunately before my mind went too far along that road, I remembered some other people who came to God with their “not enough” and discovered that in his hands it was plenty.

There was the widow who made bread for Elijah, despite only having a tiny amount of flour and oil left to cook a last meal for her and her son.  She gave generously, and her reward was seeing God’s miraculous provision as he ensured that for several days, no matter how much food she used, there was always just enough for the next meal.  She never had an abundance- she had to keep trusting- but God faithfully provided, and, in his hands, “not enough” became plenty.

Then there was the boy who offered Jesus his five loaves and two fishes.  It was ridiculous to think that small amount of food would feed the whole crowd of over five thousand people.  The disciples realised this, and were ready to send the people away to buy food elsewhere.  Yet meagre as the boy’s offering was, in Jesus’ hands it became enough to feed and satisfy the entire crowd.  There were even twelve baskets of food left over.  Once again “not enough” became plenty.

Finally there was another widow, who came into the Temple as Jesus was sitting there.  Several rich people came and gave generous amounts of money; she gave two small coins.  It looked like a pathetic offering- surely that wasn’t enough?  And yet, in Jesus’ eyes, she gave far more than the wealthier people.  They donated a tiny proportion of their vast riches.  The widow gave everything.  It seemed like “not enough” but it was plenty, because she gave all she had for him.

I realised that day in church that the issue is not really about how much we have, or how much we feel we have; it’s about how willing we are to give it to God. I love how Keith Getty puts it in his song “Simple Living”“Not what you give, but what you keep, is what the King is counting.”  While the song is written referring to money, I believe the statement is true in a wider sense as well.

Even if we only have a tiny amount, even when we feel we have little to offer, God asks that we give it to him:

Give him our time, our talents and our treasures.
Give him our words, our ways and our worship.
Even give him our fears, our flaws and our failures.
Give him our will, give him our heart, give him our all.

It may feel like it is “not enough”, and in human terms it may not be, but, in God’s hands, it can be transformed into plenty, and in fact this is how he intended it to be:  God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world,things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.  As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.”  (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)

So, whether you feel that you have a lot to offer, or whether you feel “not enough”  “because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you (and to myself): Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer.”  (Romans 12:1)

And, however we feel, if we do that, it is plenty, and God can use it to do more than we would ever have imagined.

linking with Tell His Story and Live Free Thursday


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16 thoughts on “When “not enough” is plenty

  1. Another on target post, Carly. Just last night, I was battling similar thoughts, that God could never use me, that what I have to offer will never be enough. This is one of Satan’s favorite lies, and if we give place to it we’ll fail to fulfill God’s purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes we have something to offer but we feel too constrained with self=conciousness to give. Giving the self away is so hard. Opening to hard things can feel vulnerable. I know you understand this. I’m thinking of my volunteering at an organization called MusicMends Minds. I do music with Alzheimers patients and sometimes I just can’t come out of myself. I’ve known a few of these people in their prime. I just get sad for their decline and I find myself receding
    from the pain of loss. I’m working on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I think often we do have something to offer- it just feels like we don’t, or, as you say, it feels hard and vulnerable to give and to open ourselves up. Sometimes that can be a good thing if it drives us to depend on God and not ourselves. Music Mends Minds sounds like a great thing to be involved in, but I can see how it would be hard when you are watching people’s health deteriorate, especially people you have known for a long time.


  3. So much wonderful encouragement here! I spent far too many years thinking I had nothing to give. We really do each have something to offer. I love this: “Not what you give, but what you keep, is what the King is counting.” Thanks for sharing that song. I’ll have to check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

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