The sum of sufficiency

Published 9:33 pm Friday, July 24, 2020

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By QuaWanna Bannarbie

A friend called last week and asked if my husband and I would not mind taking a look at a video that he had created that he intended to post to his YouTube Channel.

He said, “Sis, don’t be too hard on me but I know you will tell me right.” He questioned whether it was good enough. He assumed that I would be critical. Instead, we encouraged him. It is great to witness him exploring creative ways to share the word of God. He had created a Bible verse video clip and the majority of the content included him reading the scriptures. I said to him, “What is there to critique? You are reading God’s word. There is nothing that I can say to that.”

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I ended my comments by repeating an old adage that I learned from my childhood pastor at Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Americus, Ga. The Rev. Walter L. Great used to say, “if you cannot add or multiply then do not subtract or divide.” He would often make this comment when he was asked to give final remarks at the end of a service in which he was not the keynote speaker. When Rev. Great stood up and made that statement, we knew it was time for the benediction. In his eyes, enough had been said and done. He understood what was sufficient. The word of God is sufficient. In fact, nothing is enough without the word of God.

Summation is the mission of maturation in a flawed human nature. We attempt to secure this idea of sufficiency by adding things to ourselves. We know many people who still question whether they have done enough, have said enough; whether they themselves are enough. We do this because we do not have a real understanding of God’s grace. And those who think they do understand it don’t wield the grace of God as often as we should. I am guilty.

Following last week’s article about becoming a practitioner of the life God has given to me, I was reminded that it is the grace of God that enables me to carry out the will He has ordained using the gifts He has given. I can do nothing of my own that will add anything above what God has already done in the sacrifice of his Son. Even the creative ideas that I have are not my own.

His word tells us that “my grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:9). It means that the grace of God is enough to equip us for everything and every good work. It means that grace added to our flawed human nature created a human being endowed with divine talents that make us qualified and called for the purposes He has for each of us.

I am guilty. I watch other people in awe of their gifts and talents. I now understand that I am looking at someone who is no better than I am. He or she has learned to wield the grace of God in such a way that her gift or his gift has made room for them. Romans 12:6 says, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them.” The enemy keeps whispering the lie of “if I had this or if I had that.” You know what you have? You have grace. You plus His grace is the sum of sufficiency. Everything that comes after grace is a supplement to the work. Everything that you gain in return for its use is just evidence that God’s grace abounds.

Grace keeps adding and multiplying. If you are reading this and doubtful that you have what it takes, replace your doubts with a word of grace. We should praise God every day that grace does not divide or subtract. Because if it did, none of us could ever learn to do math.

QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of nonprofit leadership and management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Connect with her via