Letting Go of Living In Scarcity
I'm going to preach about living out of abundance rather than scarcity in a couple of weeks, so I've been thinking about what that means more deeply than usual.
It seems that Jesus based almost all of his teachings on the notion that virtually any expression of a well-lived life comes from a place of abundance rather than scarcity.
When we live in a place of scarcity, we are susceptible to the lies and innuendo that tell us that we don't have enough and that there is probably some person or group of persons acting to keep us from ever having enough.
It becomes all-too-easy to demonize others, create scapegoats, and then head down the rabbit holes of fear, bigotry, tribalism, and the like.
In short, living in scarcity gives birth to fear, the basis for every terrible thing humans do to themselves and others.
Comedian and actor Dennis Leary had this bit many years ago where he joked about his fear of Canadians by saying, "If you listen closely, you can hear [Canadians] sharpening their skates and getting ready to come over the border and steal our cheese."
It's absurd because not every Canadian can skate---I think. Also, they have their own cheese--even though it might be as good as ours.
In the end, the bit holds up a mirror to the kinds of paranoid reactions that people have to feelings of scarcity and the fear it breeds.
Living in scarcity also keeps people from indeed growing in their life of faith to become the kinds of Jesus-followers that don't just say they love Jesus; they show it by following in Jesus' example.
I recently read this quote from Fr. Richard Rohr, and it spoke to me today as I was pondering all of this:
"As long as you operate inside any scarcity model, there will never be enough God or grace to go around. Jesus came to undo our notions of scarcity and tip us over into a worldview of absolute abundance--or what he would call the 'Reign of God.'"
When viewed through a lens of abundance, those who claim to follow Jesus can see themselves and others in the light of God's grace and unconditional love. This is transformative because God's grace and love have the power to drive out the fear created by scarcity.
And when fear is driven out, we can finally open ourselves to the healing of our many divisions and the peace that comes through the joy of abundant living.
May you live today with a view toward abundance rather than scarcity. Let the love of God perfectly drive out all of your fear. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.