“The people rejoiced over the offerings, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord, and King David was filled with joy?” – 1 Chronicles 29:9.
Imagine that two people are walking down the street. They both need oxygen to survive. But there is no worry about running out of oxygen. Oxygen is not scarce. In fact, it is abundant. But if those same two people are scuba diving and one tank malfunctions, that changes the equation completely, doesn’t it? Suddenly air becomes a precious commodity. It’s scarcity makes the two people wonder if there is enough for both of them.
Many people operate through the lens of scarcity. They are afraid of having enough money to enable them to live as they desire. And more importantly, will they have the money to provide for their family? The Great Depression in 1929 and all the downturns since then, have contributed to this scarcity mentality. The scarcity mentality contributes to “what if” scenarios such as “what if I lose my job” or “what if I get a chronic illness?” People worry about running out of time, resources, and money.
All that could be true from a cultural, worldview. But as Christians, we should not look at life from a purely physical vantage point. Several weeks ago we talked about Jesus feeding the 5,000. (Matthew 14:13-21) The disciples viewed life through the lens of scarcity. From a practical standpoint the resources at the disciples disposal was pretty scarce compared to the need: “But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.” “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered.” (Vs. 16-17)
A similar story is told in I Kings 17:7-16 where Elijah encounters the widow of Zarephath. She is about to run out of food, but because she submitted to Elijah’s request to feed him, her small amount of flour and olive oil never ran out.
If we view life through the lens of scarcity, we will always be fearful and anxious. We are human. We fail to remember what God has done 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 is the greatest giver in the universe, and He won’t let you outgive Him in any way. The questions for us are: Do we realize that He gave His only Son for us, that He wants us to test His generosity, that we can trust a giving God, and that we will reap a great harvest if we sow generously? I believe it. Do you?
- Do you ever have a scarcity mindset?
- Americans are some of the wealthiest people in the world, but do you think Americans are generous with their wealth? Why or why not?
- What excuses do people sometimes make for not being more generous with their resources (time, money, and energy) toward others? What excuses have you made?