December 08, 2011

Scarcity Vs. Abundance

Last week, I wrote about the Wednesday Night Dinners I started at my church. My reflections were influenced by a book I was reading:  The Abundant Community, by Peter Block and John McKnight.  Well, I've finished the book now, and it has led me to do some more reflecting on the dinner gatherings that I've come to find so meaningful.

At these dinners, the group that attends basically creates its own entertainment.  We're not paying someone else to provide us with their idea of a "good time," which is what happens when we go to a movie, a theme park, watch a DVD, or even eat at a restaurant (especially a chain restaurant where the meal you order in Long Beach is exactly the same as the meal that is being served to hundreds or thousands of other diners in restaurants all over the continent).

It's nice to pay someone else to entertain us once in awhile.  However, paying someone else to entertain us is an idea based on scarcity.  We can only experience as much entertainment as we can afford.  Also, when we pay someone else to entertain us, we are living out the belief that our own gifts aren't good enough to share.  Our own gifts aren't good enough, so we have to pay someone else who is "gifted" to entertain us.

Creating our own entertainment, on the other hand, is an idea based on abundance.  Every person has gifts, and is empowered to share them.  The amount of entertainment we can experience is limitless, as long as we are willing to share our gifts.

Christmas is approaching.  For some reason, we believe that the best gifts are ones that can be purchased from someone else, gifts created by someone we don't even know.  Thus, our generosity and gift-giving is limited by the money in our bank accounts.  Christmas shopping is an exercise in scarcity.  We can only give so much before we run out of money.

Why is it that we think that paying for a gift that was made, created, or cooked by someone else is preferable to - and more meaningful than - a gift that is made, created, or cooked specifically for us by someone we love?

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