What happens when resources become scarce? Human nature displays its dark side of greed, self-protection, oppression and hoarding. Those who have been blessed with resources naturally act to protect and enlarge their financial positions and preserve their power. Therefore, the rich and powerful tend to get more rich and powerful, the not-so-rich are lucky to break even and the poor get poorer.
The social, political and economic reasons for the skewed wealth distribution described in the above video are many and much debated. I’m not going there. However, I suggest that one underlying aspect of this phenomenon is a mind-set of scarcity.
A presumption of scarcity imagines a national economic pie that must be equitably sliced so that everyone gets a fair share. The natural solution to gross economic inequity is therefore to take money from the uber-rich and redistribute it among the rest of us. Makes sense. I have one question: Who slices the pie? Answer: The rich and powerful. Naturally, those who control the creation and distribution of wealth will serve themselves and the gap will only grow. It’s human nature. Count on it.
I wonder what would happen if Christians started to behave out of an attitude of abundance.
An attitude of abundance is not liberal or conservative. It’s not trickle-down economics or Occupy Wall Street. It’s not naïve or baseless positive thinking, and it’s most certainly not a prosperity gospel. An attitude of abundance is a sober, well-founded, confident recognition that God is not a God of scarcity but of abundance and that his resources are inexhaustible; His resource pie is limitless.
“If you start thinking to yourselves, “I did all this. And all by myself. I’m rich. It’s all mine!”—well, think again. Remember that God, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth…” Deuteronomy 8:18 from The Message
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus in John 10:10
An attitude of abundance generates generosity (I can give freely, because God’s resources are infinite) and unity (I don’t have to fight you for limited resources. God has enough for all of us). Scarcity thinking produces fear (I must hang on to what I have), and division (us vs. them).
God has deposited his vast resources in his people, so when we allow a scarcity mind-set to incite fearful, protective, and divisive behavior we lock up the very resources that we seek to protect. And we get exactly what we fear.
What if God’s people began to infect our scarcity minded culture with an attitude of abundance by acting in faith instead of fear, generosity instead of greed, and confident hope instead of anxiety?
What do you think?