Living in scarcity or abundance

Published 9:27 am Friday, May 23, 2014

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Don Rose

Which of the following describes your philosophy or understanding of life? Option one is that there is a scarcity of all of the things necessary for life and so it is important to hang on to whatever one has no matter what. Option two is that there is an abundance of the necessities of life and that one is free to share what one has because there will be enough. Before you respond think about what these options represent.

Don Rose

Don Rose

Option one suggests a life lived in fear. Fear of not having enough or on the other hand a fear of being able to hold on to what one has because others will try to take it away. In either case it is a life that is founded on fear. Will there be enough for tomorrow or the next week or the next month or the next year? How does one accrue more of whatever one imagines that one needs if the undergirding principle is that there will never be enough for everyone?

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Option two suggests a life that is lived in freedom and security. A life that is based upon trust that there is enough for all of God’s children and that the more one shares the more one receives and the fuller one’s life is as a result. Instead of a closed hand of holding on tightly to things, one can live with an open hand that not only is free to share but equally free to receive. This option is grounded in the promise of God’s abundant love for the whole world and not just for a select few.

Which option most closely resembles your philosophy or understanding of life? Is there abundance or is there scarcity? What has God promised? What has God provided and continues to provide?

Walter Brueggeman, a noted Old Testament scholar, has suggested that at least from a biblical point of view many who have in this world are more likely to operate from a philosophy of scarcity rather than abundance. On the other hand, those with little see abundance as the guiding principle of their lives.

Views on a world of scarcity or a world of abundance will make a substantial difference in every part of life and one’s relationship not only to others but to God. Which view is most like yours when it comes to your relationship with God and the whole of God’s creation?


Don Rose is the pastor of Mansfield Lutheran Church in Alden and United Lutheran Church in Walters.