“And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8.
There are times in most people’s lives when things are scarce. There is little food in the fridge. There is no gas in the tank and there is little money in the checking account. At those times optimism and hope are just as scarce. Unfortunately, life doesn’t stop. It is in times of scarcity that the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 can remind us of a fundamental truth—that Jesus is asking me to simply give my nothing—my little loaves and fishes—and then to stand back and watch Jesus teach a different kind of economy, an economy grown by God’s abundance.
You know the story. There is a big crowd. Jesus tells the disciples “You feed them.” The disciples are puzzled. They have no food. No reserves. They stare out at a hungry mass of people that looks more and more like a hungry mob. They state the obvious: “We have nothing—only five loaves and two fish.” Jesus says, “Bring your nothing to me.” He blesses the fish and bread and proceeds to distribute food to the masses. As Matthew tells the story, “And they all ate and were satisfied.” (Matthew 14:20) The bottom line: This story of Jesus challenges us to re-imagine our life and live into an economy of God’s abundance.
Most of the time I operate through the lens of scarcity. I’m afraid of not having enough time or resources. Will I have enough money to provide for my family? What if I get a chronic illness? If we view life through the lens of scarcity, we will always be fearful and anxious. So how do we live the abundant life Jesus promises?
We are serving a God who has abundance at His disposal. But we are human. And being human, we can fail to remember what God has done in our lives in the past and therefore what He is capable of doing presently. It is important to remind ourselves over and over how God has provided in the past. God knows how easily we forget. Our definition and understanding of whatever “scarcity” and “abundance” means is shaped by remembering who God is, what God cares about, and how God does things. And that shapes our trust and confidence.
Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” And Jesus makes us a promise in Luke 18:29-30: “…I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”
- How do you define scarcity and abundance?
- How do we live a more “abundant” life?
- What can we do this week to live a more abundant life?