Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We Don't Have Enough! | Scarcity Issues

Photo by Phillip Guyton
Short Supply

Everyone worries about having enough, especially in difficult financial times. We worry if we have enough money to cover our bills. We worry if we have enough gas in the car. We worry if we have enough food in the house to feed our family. We worry if we have enough coffee to make it through the morning. OK, maybe you don't worry about that, but I do at times!

If we're not careful, we can worry if we have enough of anything and everything in our lives. We get into a scarcity mindset. If we claim to be believers in Christ, though, should we really live in a scarcity mindset? Being a believer doesn't negate the struggle of scarcity. We're still going to fight it. This mindset is part of our human makeup. But, there are things we can do to push back against this fleshly nature.

Biblical Examples Of Scarcity

In the Gospels, we find at least two great examples of scarcity and how Jesus handled each situation. In Matthew 14 and 15, we find two very similar stories - the feeding of the 5,000 and the feeding of the 4,000. In all actuality, there were way more than 5,000 and 4,000 fed in these stories. These figures are only the number of men that were present. In Biblical times, they typically did not include the number of women and children that were also there. When you factor those numbers in, now we're talking probably 12,000-20,000 people!

So whether it was 4,000 or 20,000, an awesome amount of people were fed with very few resources. In the story of the feeding of the 5,000, the disciples only had five loaves of bread and two fish, and they were freaking out! But Jesus simply took the resources available in the moment and provided for the needs of the people.

The same is true in the story of the feeding of the 4,000. The disciples only had seven loaves of bread and a few small fish. We see Jesus once again taking these few resources and accomplishing amazing things.

Practical Suggestions For Fighting Scarcity In Our Lives

First, remind yourself that whatever the Lord wants to accomplish, He will accomplish. In both of these "feeding the people" stories, Jesus didn't want to send the people away to go find food. He knew that they were tired and hungry already. He wanted them to be able to stay right where they were and eat. The disciples' solution was to tell the people to leave and find their own food. Jesus' solution was allowing God to provide.

Second, look around and see what resources you have available right now. At both the feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000, Jesus asked the disciples what was available right at that moment. Obviously in both cases, only a few loaves of bread and a few small fish were at hand. Whatever situation you may find yourself, use what you currently have as effectively as possible and allow God to provide the increase.

Third, be thankful for what you have right now. In both stories, Jesus took these few available resources, looked up to His Father in Heaven, and gave thanks. You may not think you have enough resources to take care of your needs at that precise moment. It doesn't matter, though. Thank God anyway for what you do have.

Fourth, pray for God's provision. Along with a prayer of thanksgiving, offer up a prayer for God to provide for what you think you are lacking. If you think you're in tune with what God wants to accomplish, He will provide everything that's necessary.

Fifth, watch what God can do! The amazing part I find in both of these stories is that God not only provided enough food to satisfy the people with their physical hunger, but He also provided a bunch of leftovers! Why would He do this? Why not provide just enough to feed the people? Don't leftovers seem like such a waste? I don't know the answers to these questions, but I do know that God has an abundance of supply. Trust Him. He owns everything in the universe and can take care of your needs and even have leftovers at the end.

In what ways are you battling an attitude of scarcity in your life right now? What do you need to do to push back against this mindset? Live your life, today, with a mindset of God's abundant provision!

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