December 24, 2009

Scarcity vs. Abundance

Do you know what tomorrow is? It's the 5-year anniversary of Field of Dandelions! Hopefully tomorrow will be as relaxing a day as that Christmas five years ago. Today, however, there is much to do. So instead of writing something new, I thought I'd share what I wrote this month for my church's newsletter. A number of people have found it meaningful, and I hope you do too.

There are many frameworks through which the world is viewed; many paradigms that color how people see things. One is a paradigm of scarcity. People who see the world this way see a world of limitations and roadblocks. It’s a “glass half-empty” way of viewing the world.

Then there is the paradigm of abundance. Viewed this way, the world is boundless, the possibilities limitless. This is a “glass half-full” way of viewing the world.

The disciples had a hard time seeing the world as a world of abundance. “There’s only five loaves and two fish, what is that among so many?” But as the gospels show over and over again, the work of Jesus involved opening people’s eyes to a new world, a world of abundance and new possibilities—and baskets full of leftovers!

Perhaps that’s not what we might expect from one who was born with practically nothing, to parents of limited means, in a stable among animals. One who came from a background like that, it would seem, would have little to offer the world. How easy it would have been for a young Jesus to lament his low position in life, his lack of resources with which he could make his mark in the world. And yet, where others might see scarcity, limitations, and roadblocks, Jesus saw abundance and limitless possibilities.

When you look at your life, do you see only the limitations and the scarcity, or do you see the abundance with which you have been blessed? When you look at your church, do you lament a lack of resources, or do you consider with joy all that is possible?

All of us, including yours truly, fall into the old paradigm from time to time. We see only the limitations caused by finances and lack of resources. We are tempted to downsize our work and our ministry to fall in line with the scarcity we see.

May Jesus—who started out with so little in life and yet did so much—open our eyes to the abundance that is around us and within us.

Merry Christmas!

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