Review of Chapter 6, “When is Enough… Enough?”
by Aaron Delay
When is enough, enough? That is the question asked within Chapter 6 of “Too Small to Ignore” by Dr. Wes Stafford. The chapter opens up with some eye opening facts about life of an American youth that even a few years after its publication ring painfully true. If nothing else the facts and statistics he presents are even more real to us now. Stafford makes a point that he’s traveled to many countries that have less than us and delivers a shocking surprise about trashcans. We have gargantuan sized disposals for trash. In countries with far less they are either non-existent or very small. I read over that passage several times. I had been in the Philippines for a year and a half doing business work and had experienced some of what this chapter touches on but had allowed the memories to fade.
This chapter brought it right back to the forefront and reminds me that enough is enough. I’ll admit to having been convicted several times while reading this chapter. I hope youíll give this book a chance to do the same as I can imagine the other chapters are equally as powerful.
Wes Stafford leads Compassion International and he draws on his experiences from birth to present to makes his point about the idea of ìenoughî. In “When is Enough… Enough?” he reflects on what children need to survive. What becomes apparent is that we as Americans have no idea what children or anyone needs to survive. Stafford points out that after certain levels are met we turn to other needs and then eventually our wants become the forefront of our minds.
This is where things start to go wrong. I will admit to having experienced this every day. You have your basics but you want more. A new microphone for your laptop to so you can create better quality podcasts. Sure, sounds great. But itíll set you back $100 minimum, more depending on the features, gadgets and doodads. Do you really need that when you have perfectly functional microphone that does the basic job? I fought this over the last few weeks and finally admitted that I didnít need it. Iíll tell you this: finally beating out your wants and replacing it with your real world needs feels great when you realize what you did. This plays out every day from food to entertainment.
This translates over into helping the children of the world. Stafford makes a point to list out the needs a child really does in fact require. He points out that some people go overboard with an example where a well meaning sponsor will get the idea to send $500 to the child. Well meaning, but terribly uneducated about what chaos such a gift would bring upon the family and village.
Stafford brings this into focus with tales of his life growing up on a village in Ivory Coast. This was the most powerful part of the chapter and touched me in many ways. From the story of his father building his house to a detailed telling of how the market worked and even the hilarious tale of when womenís clothing arrived and subsequently worn by various men of the tribe.
I think the best example of enough being enough is where Stafford illustrates the arrival of Coke to the village. It is told as someone from the west thought it would be a great idea for the thirsty people in the village to taste Coke. They taste the amazing flavor and magically they’d want to drink it because well, itís just so good!
Did the villagers really need Coke? Of course not! But in our misguided ideas of what makes life “good” or “complete” we’ll send things or do things that in the eyes of the receivers makes absolutely no sense.
The chapter ends with a story of a friend of Stafford joining him on a mission trip to a village and finding out that a simple session of prayer by a group of children with nothing but God teaches him more than anything he’s experienced in his entire life. It is a stark moment for Stafford and his friend. Here a people with nothing reach hands out in prayer and thanksgiving to a man they hardly know. Stafford makes a final point that when the poor and rich get together, amazing lessons can be had for both sides.
I would propose that some of us have forgotten what it means to serve those in need. Iíll raise my hand right now and admit it. Realizing the simple needs that we as Christians can fulfill with those in our community and beyond is something we can all learn. I’m unsure of what that will look like for me but Godís hit me upside the head with this chapter and Iíd hate to ignore The Big Guy.
So the question for you is simple. When is enough, enough? I encourage you to pick up the book and check out the other chapters along with this one. Sometimes all it takes is a story to change a life. Jesus knew the power of parables and Iím happy to say itís alive and well in “To small to Ignore”.
Aaron DeLay has been a childrenís ministry volunteer for over 15 years, starting in junior high to now at the age of 27. Heís taught toddlers on up to junior high students. He’s on twitter (twitter.com/aarondelay) and has a website with all kinds of links (aarondelay.com) including a blog about his experiences with his stroke. You can contact, complain at or otherwise give him a hard time via email at firstname.lastname@example.org