Sunday, January 24, 2010

Are You Living in Abundance or Scarcity?

It's a question of perspective - how do you view the world around you? Do you see a world limited by scarce resources or overflowing with abundance? This is a matter of huge importance for most of us. Living under the rule of scarcity can lead us to a hording, selfish mentality If we believe that success, wealth, ideas and valued resources are limited, we can be tempted to think "me first" and be less inclined to share.

But the Bible paints a picture of God as loving and generous to His creation.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights

Psalm 36:7-9

This is fundamentally important to us - if we believe that God created this world to be overflowing and abundant, our approach to life changes dramatically. We can rest knowing that God has provided this world with more than we need. Seeing God as gloriously generous and ultimately creative, shifts our perspective from hording to sharing. We can imitate our Creator by being generous with our time, our money or our success. Imagine the kind of life we would live as a result of believing in a loving and generous God who has created a world of abundance -

We would share accolades with others.
We would give generously to those who lack.
We would volunteer our time to worthy causes.
We would rather serve than be served.
We would value community more than privacy.
We would rather give than receive.


Ted M. Gossard said...

I agree and appreciate what you say here, ESI, about the values we should have. What I might take issue with to some extent is what might be understood here, that there are no limits to what we can take out of the earth. We can harm the ecological system by our excess and waste so that climate change occurs to the detriment of many poor. And it goes on. Our generosity needs to include being good stewards of earth. Just my thoughts here. People where I work at RBC Ministries disagree over this. I'm suggesting here that poor stewardship of the earth, like of our bodies, though wonderfully made, can result in dire consequences.

Every Square Inch said...

Ted - I can see why you would take issue. I think you and I are closer on this than you might imagine. :-)

The idea of abundance vs scarcity is important though - it's rooted in the idea that God has created and supplied us with more than we need - we are rich in blessing and we need to live with that orientation. This isn't health & wealth gospel I'm espousing here but rather a sense of God's abundant blessing upon our lives. But I'm open to being challenged on this...if you think I'm offbase, please do share

Ted M. Gossard said...

ESI, Thanks. No, I'm not sure we're tracking precisely. My complaint is not directed thinking that you are akin to the health and wealth gospel. It's rather in protest against the Cornwall Alliance. Bob Robinson blogs on that here. And see the links if you care to take time to read it. So that was on my mind when I commented here.

I agree God has made the earth rich and resilient. But humankind can simply use it for their own greed rather than being good stewards of it. And as the passage in the Revelation tells us, God will come to judge those who destroy the earth.

Every Square Inch said...

Ted - no, we are actually closer than you think. The second part of my comment wasn't particularly related to the first. I think what governs good stewardship pertains to accountability to God and love for our neighbor.

I do not agree with all that the Cornwall Alliance has to say nor do I think that those who champion environmentalism on a biblical premise have it right. If you wield the gospel to make a secondary point, you miss the point of the gospel.

But my post has not to do with preserving the environment nor ravaging it. It has to do with understanding that God gives to us a bounty of blessings sufficient for us and our neighbor. We can focus on sharing and caring, not hoarding and defending.

Ted M. Gossard said...

ESI, Thanks. I do understand the gospel as having ramifications for everything. It brings us back to God's will in creation through the new creation in Jesus. But it's an appeal to people through what Christ has done, to be reconciled to God and to God's will.

As to the rest, I don't see how we can avoid the political. For me to say the environment is important and how humans treat it, without saying anything more is directly challenged. I've heard it challenged in the name that earth is resilient and we can do with it as we like and need. That is what come across and I think ends up allied to a certain political agenda. When we should not be about any political agenda, left nor right.

My complaint is often kind of in line, yes we should have enough, but where does greed and hoarding cross the line?

Sorry for all the push backs, but you engage in a thoughtful, civil conversation and reason. Even when we end up not agreeing on everything, I respect and think you could be right, and me wrong, because you do think through the issues and well.

Every Square Inch said...

Ted - I like your feedback here and I'll give them more thought. I haven't thought about this much from an environmental and preservation perspective.