I was reading the notes captured from an interview between Dolly Parton and Allison Glock (for Southern Living Magazine). Dolly was summarizing 10 lessons she had learned while filming Steel Magnolias. Lesson #7 was “There is No Such Thing as Too Much.” Specifically Dolly was quoted as saying that this applied to “hair, jewelry, laughter, heel height, cake, cleavage, pulled pork, emotion, faith, persistence and revelation. Contrary to the old adage, less is actually less and more is divine.”
Well, there are a few of these that I might agree with. You know I really like jewelry – and the bigger, bolder, quirkier and unique, the better. And in the words of Emeril, “Pork fat rules!” But, it seems that we have become a society where “too much” is the norm.
Too much TV. Remember when it used to sign off at midnight? Now there’s programming for every hour of the day. Nielsen says the average American watches about 33 hours of television each week. Doesn’t sound like much to you? Well, that’s about 71.5 days/year just watching television. And remember, this is average. Some people watch much more. Too much?
Too much food. (Am I really typing this?) The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) says we suffer from “portion distortion.” In the same report, the NHLBI says that 20 years ago the average fast food cheeseburger contained 333 calories; today it offers a whopping 590 calories. Sodas came in cute 6.5 ounce bottles (remember those cute little green Coke bottles). Today single-serve sodas commonly offer 20 ounces and 250 calories. Too much?
Too much cell phone. I am amazed every day. By who has a cell phone. Like Kindergarteners. Really? By how often people talk on their cell phones. (Nielsen says 34 hours each week – that’s a week more than we watch television!) By where people talk on their cell phones. My doctor’s office has a sign that reads: You may be denied service if you are talking on your cell phone. Really? There has to be a reason why he posted that sign. Too much!
Too much shopping. Based on an analysis of Federal Reserve statistics and other government data, the average household owes $7,281 on their cards; looking only at indebted households, the average outstanding balance rises to $15,607. Too much!
Too much stuff. A UCLA study says, “The rise of Costco and similar stores has prompted so much stockpiling — you never know when you’ll need 600 Dixie cups or a 50-pound bag of sugar — that three out of four garages are too full to hold cars.” (While watching those 33 hours of television did you by any chance watch the popular show, Hoarders?) Too much!
I could continue, but it would probably be too much for you to really take in, so I will offer just one more.
The American Bible Society reports that 88% of American households own a Bible, 80% think the Bible is sacred, 61% wish they read the Bible more and 37% of those households actually read the Bible. Not enough.
So how much of what should you be doing? I cannot say for you, but I will suggest you assess your own habits and make adjustments asking yourself just two questions – Too much? Not enough?
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. (1 Corinthians 9:25 ESV)
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity… (Titus 2:7 ESV)
Let your moderation be known unto all men. (Philippians 4:5 KJV)
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8 ESV)
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:10-11 ESV)
But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. (Matthew 22:29 ESV)