I had an interesting convergence in my inbox this morning. Two of the daily emails to which I subscribe were saying the same thing, but from two different angles. On and off, but mostly on, over the last year and a half, I’ve subscribed to Seedbed’s Daily Text. The author, J.D. Walt, invites readers to read through a book of the bible together. We’ve been reading the gospel of Matthew for several weeks and today’s text was Matthew 6:25-27 from the Sermon on the Mount. Read what started me thinking today. (Seriously…read it.)
I’ve contemplated what it means to be a person who lives from a framework of abundance rather than scarcity. I’ve lived whole decades from a perspective of scarcity! Not enough time, not enough money, not enough access, not enough talent, not enough confidence, not enough, not enough, not enough.
Somehow, several years ago, it began to hit me that this way of thinking, believing, and living was not only pessimistic, but it was crippling, self-sabotaging, and downright sinful! My theology requires more from me: God is not a God of scarcity, but of abundance! One of my favorite scriptures from my childhood is John 10:10 and is Jesus’ words, “I came so that they may have life and have it more abundantly!” (Emphasis and punctuation added, but I don’t think it’s a stretch.) If God is a God of abundance, then why am I feeling so stretched all the time?
In today’s Daily Text, JD calls out the symptom of scarcity thinking, anxiety, and unveils the cure, abundance, with its primary sign being deep abiding peace. I’ve come to understand that abundance means that there is unlimited access to the Provider, to the mind of Christ, to the fruit of the Spirit. That there is always, always more than what meets the eye and that despite circumstances that may look dismal, I should not lose hope. [Sidenote: I just accidentally typed home, rather than hope. Hope was what I intended, but I think that home was appropriate, too. I should not forget that my true home is in right relationship with God.] This is important as we face uncertain days in our political future, both in America and in the United Methodist Church. We in the UMC are on the cusp of convening our every-four-years global gathering next week and anticipate a number of painful/difficult/important conversations. Peace is at the heart of what we, or at least I, desire and pray for in the days ahead. Is it possible that remembering that I can live in the abundance of God is a step toward it?
And then, that convergence that I mentioned. I’ve been a Seth Godin reader for years now. He’s a marketing expert/thinker/entrepreneur who writes a daily blog of bits of food for thought. Don’t let the briefness of most of his blogs fool you into thinking less of the nuggets he provides. He can pack more into 150 words than most people (okay, I) can pack into 1000. Pow! His topic today is Unlimited Bowling. But read his words—it would take me 250 words just to summarize what he said in 150!
Perhaps abundance is permission to try new things, freedom to fail, practicing until we find the sweet spot of our gifts, passions, and opportunities in the world. Perhaps it’s actually the courage to live in faith, knowing that God is trust-worthy, good, and plays by a different set of rules than what meets the eye from the world’s point of view.
The convergence for me is that if I am to live in abundance, not worrying about my life, I must be willing to practices stepping out in faith and taking risks. It doesn’t guarantee my “success,” in fact, it pretty much guarantees the opposite. But, it does give me an opportunity to listen to God’s voice guiding me in those risk-taking missions, recognize that “failure” may be gentler than I feared, and perhaps I can know the peace that living in abundance truly can offer.