"I have enough."
At what point do we say these words?
Do we say it when we've had our fill at the table, our homes are furnished, closets full and family rooms brimming with television sets, DVD players and VCR machines along with cabinets full of cassettes, games and discs? If we've earned enough money to meet all our needs, and then some, do we turn away from extra work that takes us from home, family and Church service?
What is "enough"? Do we decide for ourselves when we have what is sufficient to not only sustain but also entertain us, or do we allow neighbors, friends, colleagues and various media to set the standard for what we pursue?
Ours has been described as a consumer society. We acquire things. Some of those things are essential, others aren't. We buy some things because we need or want them; they fill a purpose or bring satisfaction or recreation. Some people buy things not because they want or need them but because they seek happiness through material things, or they try to prove their worth through their possessions.
Many purchases are attempts to fill hollow vessels of vanity. Filling those vessels is a futile effort.
Everyone wants to be happy. Equating the word "happiness" with "joy," we see that seeking happiness is divinely sanctioned. Of this Lehi testified when he declared " . . .men are, that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25).
Many misguided people think happiness comes through things of the world; however, while these might bring pleasure, they alone do not bring happiness or joy.
But, if used properly, they can help bring joy to our own lives and happiness to others. Jacob taught that "the hand of providence" had smiled upon the people of Nephi in their obtaining many riches. He cautioned against pride and the love of riches (see Jacob 2:12-18), and then counseled the Nephites: "And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted (Jacob 2:19)."
A man of the Old Testament described his efforts to find pleasure in his labors, possessions and knowledge. He gave his heart "to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that were done under heaven" (Ecclesiastes 1:13).
He never had enough. He said he had "seen all the works that are done under the sun" and "gave my heart to know wisdom" (v. 17). He lived for mirth and pleasure, drank wine, built houses and planted vineyards, gardens and orchards, complete with a method for irrigation. In his household were servants and maidens, and he owned herds of cattle all in greater number than any before him in Jerusalem. He gathered silver, gold and "the peculiar treasure of kings of the provinces." Singers performed for him.
He denied himself nothing: "And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of my labour" (Ecclesiastes 2:10).
He described the result of his efforts: "Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do, and behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun" (v. 11).
Yes, we need to provide for ourselves; a comfortable home, adequate food and suitable clothing are essential to our well-being. Through an abundance of blessings and circumstances, we can enjoy also things and activities that bring us pleasure and added comfort.
It is when we constantly reach for more and fail to share with others that our worldly goods and wisdom are vanity.
We find satisfaction, even joy, when we can say, "I have enough."