Scarcity or Abundance?

There are a lot of faith based organizations in our valley who are working very hard to help those in need. Day by day, month by month. Did you know that about 1 in 3 persons living here is food insecure? Food insecure is an official term that says a person literally does not know where there next meal is coming from. Forty-six percent of our children are food insecure.

The work of feeding them is critical to the health and well being of our valley. And, so, these faith based organizations work hard at distributing food to those in need. But something I’ve noticed over time is that many of these groups imply they supply the food they distribute. In reality most of the food these organizations distribute comes from the Imperial Valley Food Bank.

Think of the Food Bank as the hub of a very large wheel and the 40 something organizations that distribute food are the spokes of that wheel. These organizations don’t have the capacity to store, refrigerate, freeze or package the food they distribute. The Food Bank does all of that. Check out their website: ivfoodbank.com

Why am I writing about this? Well, from a faith standpoint it speaks to whether people of faith live out of an abundance mentality, or a scarcity mentality.

A scarcity mentality says there is only so much pie to go around so we better get our piece of the pie before it runs out. An abundance mentality says that when we come together and share what we have there will always be enough for everyone.

Jesus’ feeding of the 5000 is an example of the abundance mentality. The miracle was not so much that Jesus pulled bread and fish out of thin air, but that he actually got everyone there to share what they already had.

Another, my favorite story of abundance, is when Jesus turns water into wine. At a wedding reception in Cana. After they had run out of wine. Which was a problem because the groom was responsible for the wine and had miscalculated. Which would bring shame to the newly married couple.

But Jesus came to the rescue. He took about 150 gallons of water and turned it into wine. Not just any kind of wine. The best wine the wine steward had ever tasted.

Had ever tasted.

So, what does this story tell us about God’s abundance mentality? Well, for one thing there was no real need for more wine. Think about it. They had run out of wine because they drank all of the wine. In order to prevent a moment of potential shame for the groom, God could have provided a nominal amount of wine and no one would have cared. You see, they were probably all drunk by then.

But nominal is not in God’s vocabulary. Abundance is. Lavish. Generous to a fault. Prodigal. Which is what generous to a fault means. (The story of the prodigal son is actually a story about the prodigal father. Think about it.)

Which makes me wonder, what might happen if all of the faith based agencies in the Imperial Valley came together to talk about ways they could mutually support each other’s work? What if every agency and group in the valley decided to collaborate with every other group and agency?

I believe we have everything we need to care for one another. God has provided us with an abundance of creativity, goods, abilities and gifts.

And you? Scarcity mentality? Or abundance mentality?