Am I Enough?
Posted January 20, 2020 by Pastor Shep
Am I enough? Have you ever asked that question?
Whether you know it or not, this is the primary question that you are constantly asking. From a young age, we are trained to think that the answer to that question is tied directly to our production.
Am I smart enough? Beautiful enough? Wealthy enough? Popular enough? Obedient enough? Religious enough?
It’s the same question that Leah is asking in Genesis 29.
Remember reading about Leah last week in our reading plan? Jacob fell in love with Rachel who was described as “having a lovely figure and was beautiful” (Gen 29:17). Jacob agreed to work 7 years in order to marry Rachel. But on their wedding night, Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah, who was said to “have weak eyes” – in contrast to Rachel’s beauty.
Polygamy is never framed in a positive light in the Bible, and this is no exception. Right from the start, there are tensions within this dysfunctional family, as the sisters constantly jockey for their husbands favor.
Genesis 29:31 says that the “Lord saw that Leah was not loved” and so he enabled her to conceive and bear a child. And here’s where we see her wrestle with the question “Am I enough?”
Her first son was named Reuben, “because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now” (29:32).
Jacob, have I produced (literally in this case) enough to earn your love?
Her second son was named Simeon, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too” (29:33).
Her third son was named Levi, thinking “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons” (29:34).
Leah is desperately trying to earn the love of her husband but what she has produced. After bearing three sons for Jacob, surely she will be enough now, right? Surely, her performance will be enough to earn his love.
The problem is that when we are looking for our worth in what we produce, we will always be insecure, unsure if we have “done enough.” In and of yourself, your production will never be enough, and you know it. So you compare yourself to others which leads either into disillusioned arrogance or despair – neither of which lead to real, meaningful life.
Then we come to Leah’s fourth son and something changes. We don’t know exactly what has happened in her heart, we can only speculate. But something is clearly different when this son is named. Leah says, “‘This time I will praise the Lord.’ So she named him Judah” (29:35).
Something has changed in Leah to where she is no longer looking to find her worth and value in what she has produced, but has turned her eyes toward the God who sees and loves her, even if her husband does not.
It is no coincidence that this change takes place in Leah’s heart surrounding the birth of Judah – the one of Jacob’s sons from whose line the Messiah would come. This is but a foreshadowing of the secure love that we have as children of God because of Jesus.
The New Testament authors go to great lengths to reassure Christians that because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we know that the answer to the question “Am I enough?” is a resounding “YES!” But it is not because of what you have produced, but because of what Jesus has done on your behalf. “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph 2:8-9).
Because you are one with Christ, united with him through faith, you are enough regardless of how beautiful, rich, impressive or popular you are. You are not a son of God because of what you have produced, but because of what the true son, Jesus Christ has done and given to you by grace.
May the Lord do the same work in our hearts as he did in Leah’s – freeing us from being enslaved to our performance, and resting in the one who said “it is finished.”