I have just started reading a book on abundance and generosity by Michael Ward. In it, the author defines abundance as, “recognizing the One who provides us everything and recognizing that it is not only enough but enough to share.”
It is so easy to live our lives grounded not in abundance, but in the fear of scarcity. Advertisers prey on our fear of scarcity by shouting, “for a limited time!”, “while supplies last!”, and “only 2 left in stock!” Instant panic over there not being enough to go around prompts shoppers to impulse-buy rather than miss out. This has always been true, but has only been amplified by toilet paper shortages, supply chain interruptions, and the overall sense of uncertainty brought on by living in a pandemic.
Throughout scripture, we are told again and again that our God is not a God of scarcity, but a God of abundance. God doesn’t just promise Abraham and Sarah a child, but promises them descendants as numerous as the stars. The 23rd Psalm describes what God provides as an overflowing cup (in the old KJV: “my cup runneth over”). Throughout the Old and New Testament scripture writers share the good news that God wants to give us not only life, but abundant life. My favorite example of this is in the Gospel of John when Jesus not only feeds all the thousands of people who have gathered, but the disciples are able to collect 12 baskets full of leftovers. Talk about abundance! God “provides us everything… and it is not only enough but enough to share.”
When we buy into the cultural need for more, more, more, or the scarcity mentality of “supplies are limited,” we lose sight of the abundance that God provides. We fearfully gather up for ourselves (like the Israelites gathering up too much manna rather than trusting God would send more the next day) and are unable to share. Or we find ourselves losing sight of the gifts in our lives, because we are focused on what we don’t have or on what we may not have enough of in the future.
I’ve shared in recent sermons about my own struggle with this fearful, scarcity mentality. And it’s something that I’m really working on, because I want to live in the freedom and abundance of “recognizing the One who provides us everything and recognizing that it is not only enough but enough to share.”
Just last week, I was paying bills and was feeling the old anxiety and fear rise up in me of there not being “enough.” I recognized that I was slipping into that scarcity mentality. I decided to change my thinking, to stop focusing on my fear and instead to trust in God’s abundance. When I scheduled the check to be sent to Holy Cross, I added $50 more than usual. It wasn’t a huge change, but it was a tiny step. It was a way for me to practice letting go…to practice trusting in God’s abundance. I chose to send that money to Holy Cross because I believe in the amazing things that God is doing in this place and I want to contribute to the mission of this congregation. But I chose to grow my giving because I needed release from my fear. I needed to step out of that scarcity mentality and to instead celebrate all that God provides and share that abundance with others.
God is the one who provides everything that we need to live. The problem isn’t one of supply, but of distribution. When we take the time to recognize the abundance of what God supplies, we can reject the scarcity mentality of this world. We can rejoice in all that God provides and we can rejoice that it is, indeed, enough to share.