Abundance is the natural condition of all creation. It is a God-given mentality and behavior that humans can choose.
Author Henri Nouwen offers examples of abundance in his daily meditation from May 6, 2012, he says: “There is enough for everyone, more than enough: food, knowledge, love . . . everything. When we see hungry people, we give them food . . . when we encounter people in need of love, we offer them friendship . . . When we live with this mindset, we will see the miracle — that what we give away multiplies. There will even be many leftovers.”
The Bible demonstrates abundance from the first chapter of Genesis onward. Genesis 1 declares God’s abundance, generosity, and the blessings in creation. Each day God created and each day God declared it good. Abundance represents God’s economy. God distributes what we need. God’s grace and activity is sufficient from beginning to end. Abundance mentality captures God’s presence and power, and so it leads us to hope.
Originally, the Garden of Eden was given to humanity as a lush and lovely place to be. Humanity was originally given an abundance of all that was needed and more. God’s economy is for us to have that kind of abundance, and that it is us that denies it to ourselves by how we choose to live our lives. In spite of God’s glorious abundance, humans deny the gift and choose to live in scarcity.
Scarcity is a false condition that says the land and everything with it belongs to the people, not to God. Through the lens of scarcity, we see reality as divided and broken up — pieces over which to fight. Choosing to live in a condition of scarcity forms our attitudes mentality and our behavior.
As fearful people we are inclined to develop a mindset that makes us say, “There’s not enough food for everyone, so I better be sure I save enough for myself in case of emergency.” We all get caught up in it. Look what happened last spring when we panicked because of the virus. How many of you have taken or been tempted to take more than your usual amount of something like toilet paper in the last year? Then it was hand wipes, and then eggs, and now it seems it can be anything week to week. Last week I was tempted to get two pounds of butter, even when I still had one pound in the freezer. Because three weeks ago that shelf was empty!
God’s abundance: get it, grab it, reach for it. The creation of Adam is a fresco painting by Michelangelo. The image of the near-touching hands of God and Adam has become a picture of humanity. Every time I see it, I am struck by how much God is reaching for Adam and how little Adam is responding. It is beautiful in all of its glory, but the story it tells is one of the human conditions with God.
The blessings are within reach. It is there . . . you have to want it enough to reach for it, and grow it. For our own joy and peace, we need to choose sharing over hoarding, generosity over greed, hospitality over selfishness.
For the sake of the creation, God calls us to choose wisely and to bring about a positive, cultural change. This is a matter of choosing a “possibility” mentality; asking what is possible rather than what is wrong. God has given each of us gifts, promises and possibilities. God has given also to the church and community many gifts, assets and strengths. God’s people can transform the Church and the world into what it really could be and was always meant to be: God’s abundant garden.
Our communities can share human and material gifts and generate enough for all. It is possible to witness to, nurture and serve with our neighbors. We can extend our giftedness to all the world, our entire community, to the land and everything in it.
We can imitate God in hearing and responding to the cry of the needy. We can take what we have — ourselves, our gifts, our witness, our wealth — and share it fully. Through our churches and other connections, we can give all we can, and then stand amazed at what God will do with us and through us and our gifts.
So, let’s look forward to all that God has planned for us, without worrying as to how we can do whatever that is. There is a place for each of us to use our abundant gifts for the good of the world and by doing that to share all of the blessings we have received.