Monday, 12 January 2015

Lessons on Abundance and Scarcity

Something I discovered about myself last year is that I have a bit of a scarcity perspective when it comes to how I view our family's needs.  These are messages ingrained through  my childhood and reinforced during my adulthood.  I fear scarcity.  I fear not having enough.  Even though my experience is one of God meeting all our needs, albeit in a minimalistic fashion, my experience has also been woven in with pain and difficulty.  So when you feel like God is directing you to be like Abraham - to leave everything behind and be open to going wherever God leads you - the whole scarcity thing comes bubbling up.  Again.  Not having a job will do that I guess.

I read this post, the other morning, from Glennon Doyle Melton.  I was starting to feel quite uncomfortable about the truth she shared and being confronted with my scarcity perspective.  As I read through the comments, one reader identified exactly what had been whispering at the back of my own mind and I knew that perhaps I was in deeper trouble than I thought.  That little scarcity perspective I knew I had is actually a full-blown fear I had been hoping to ignore or cover up or, I don't know, pretend it isn't there.  Because I don't have to deal with stuff that isn't there.  Right?  Wrong!

As I have wrestled and pondered and thought and wrestled some more I began to ask myself some questions about what I really believe.  And what I really believe about me.  At the end of my ponderings I had to ask myself the question:  am I doing something wrong?  I needed God to show me his blessings over me and to give me an abundance perspective.

When you ask questions like that God shows up.  He speaks into those fears, answers those questions and shows you how to step forward; He shows you a better way.

Yesterday in church the verse upon which the service was based was Matthew 6:31-33.

"So don't worry about these things, saying "What will we eat?  What will we drink?  What will we wear?"  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."

I knew I had to sit up and take notice when the text was about abundance and scarcity!  When it was dealing with the exact worries and fears I have been wrestling with.  This morning I spent some time looking more closely at these verses.  I had been asking what I was doing wrong.  Perhaps that isn't really the question I needed to ask - perhaps I needed to ask "what do I need to do?"  And these verses tell me exactly what to do:

Seek God's kingdom above all else.
Live righteously.

What does it mean to seek God's kingdom?  I thought about that for a good while, because believers already possess the kingdom within them.  If I have Christ dwelling within me his kingdom is already there.  Those thoughts and worries are things of unbelievers, but these verses are telling believers what they should do.  Even though believers possess the kingdom they are still told to seek it.  I needed a clearer, fuller understanding of the work "seek".  As I looked up "seek" on my dictionary app I sifted out all the meanings to do with looking for something you don't have and I found two that seemed to apply here:

"to go to", and "search or explore".

If I already possess the kingdom, when I am seeking it I need "to go to" it and "search and explore" it.  That means I need to spend time going to the Kingdom and exploring it.  I can do that by going to the Word and exploring it fully.  By doing that I will know what it means to be a citizen of that kingdom; to know what it's cultures are, how the citizens live, what the expectations are for Kingdom citizens and their responsibilities.  God's Word gives me all of that information so I need to invest myself in it and explore it above all else.

The second thing this texts instructs me to do is live righteously.  When I looked up righteous the dictionary said it means to act in an upright and moral way; to be morally right or justifiable.  When I know what it is that Kingdom citizens are expected to do and how they are to live, I am equipped to live righteously.  I am more able to embody Kingdom Truth in all that I do.

If I believe that God is a God of abundance and blessing, and that he is trustworthy to fulfill his promises every time, I need to have an abundance perspective.  In the text is instruction for what I need to do and it outlines the promise that God will give me everything I need.  Everything.  EVERY.  LITTLE.  THING.  Every time.

As I pondered that scary little challenge to this scarcity-orientated brain of mine I came across this post about abundance and scarcity.  I need to live in the truth that God has an abundance perspective.  I need to live expectant that God will show up and fulfill what he has said he will do, not in fear that he won't.  I need to steep myself in that truth and not worry about missing out.  I need to rest in the certainty that God provides everything we need and that there will be more than enough

When I do what I need to do, and God does what he promises to do I will have what I need:  a home, clothing, food, an incredible husband and children, precious friends, reliable transportation, work, income, profitability. 


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